Why Emotional Intelligence Matters in Sales and 7 Ways to Achieve Sales Success with It

Understand customer’s concerns and needs by using emotional intelligence. Make emotionally intelligent moves to achieve sales success.

Why Emotional Intelligence Matters in Sales and 7 Ways to Achieve Sales Success with It

Have you ever found yourself frustrated by the demands of a customer? Or perhaps you've encountered a situation where you couldn't understand the customer's perspective.

If you are in sales, chances are you have experienced these challenges at some point in your career. In the sales world it's common to face high customer expectations and the need to understand their needs. Even a salesperson with an intelligence quotient (IQ) of 170 cannot make a sale without understanding the customer's pain points and needs.

It is so because customers want to know how a product or service helps them rather than knowing a list of features. The ability to understand their pain points and needs comes through emotional intelligence. 

Daniel Goleman, a psychologist and behavioral science journalist, is known as the father of emotional intelligence. He is the author of one of the best-selling ‘emotional intelligence' book.

Daniel Goleman once said, "If your emotional abilities aren't in hand, if you don't have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can't have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”

Now, let’s move on to the very first question,

What is emotional intelligence in sales?

Emotional intelligence (EI) in sales refers to the ability to recognize, understand, and effectively manage your own emotions, as well as the emotions of customers, to build better relationships and achieve sales efficiency. Emotional intelligence is also referred to as the emotional quotient (EQ). It involves using empathy and emotional awareness to connect with customers, address their needs, and ultimately close deals. Let me give you an example:

Have you ever gone to a shop to buy a phone?

Imagine you are a salesperson selling smartphones in a retail store. A customer walks in, looking frustrated and annoyed. They approach you and start complaining about their current phone, saying it's slow, the battery life is poor, and they're tired of dealing with it.

Now, without emotional intelligence, you might be immediately listing all the features, specifications, and benefits of the new smartphones you have in stock. You might not acknowledge the customer's frustration and the situation they are dealing with. This approach could make the customer feel unheard as you directly push them into a sale they may not be ready for. 

But with emotional intelligence, you first recognize the customer’s frustration and start by saying something like, ‘I can understand how frustrating it can be when your phone doesn't perform well like you want it to, and it can be really annoying’. This shows that you understand their feelings and care about their experience.

Then you would ask some questions to understand their needs, like, ‘What specific issues are you facing with your current phone? What features are important to you in a new phone?’ By listening carefully, you can recommend a phone that actually solves their problems.

So, emotional intelligence in sales is about connecting with customers on an emotional level, understanding their needs, and helping them find the right solution. It’s not just about pushing products or services; it's about building relationships and solving customers' problems.

I hope you get an understanding of what emotional intelligence is in sales. Now, let's explore why it holds such a critical role in the world of sales and customer relationships.

Why does emotional intelligence matter in sales?

Emotional intelligence plays a vital role in the world of sales. With EL, you can understand your customers' needs and concerns. It believes that salespeople with high emotional intelligence can become better coaches and leaders. Here's why emotional intelligence matters in sales:

Build trust with your customers

Trust is the foundation of any successful sales relationship. Your empathy and understanding make customers more likely to open up and share their concerns. This allows you to address customer needs more precisely, helping you establish connections and credibility more effectively.

A great example of building trust with your customer is Maggi. Their “Maa Ka Pyar” campaign won the trust and hearts of almost every person who saw their advertisement. It’s because a mother's love is something that raises the feelings of every person.

Maggi builds a trusting relationship with their consumers [Source- The strategy story].

By using emotional storytelling and showcasing the mother-child love, Maggi positioned itself at a special place. This helps Maggi to establish a special love and build trust with the customers associated with it.

No doubt Maggi is leading the market, that’s a smart player right there. 

Handle objections as opportunities

Objections are a common challenge in sales, and with emotional intelligence, you can see objections as opportunities to better understand the customer's pain points. Every customer has a different and unique set of concerns and needs. The understanding of objection handling enables you to respond calmly and professionally, addressing the issues effectively without frustration, and helps you do customer-centric sales.

For example, suppose, as a salesperson, you are selling a smartphone and a customer objects because he heard that this brand’s battery life is not great.

You, with emotional intelligence, respond calmly, “I understand your concern about battery life. Can you share how you use your smartphone throughout the day? This will help me recommend a model that suits your usage and provides better battery performance."

Effective communication

In sales, communication does not mean that you are always talking but also listening. With emotional intelligence, you can become a skilled listener who pays attention to both verbal and non-verbal cues. You can adjust your communication style to match the customer's preferences, ensuring that the message is understood and received.

Being a salesperson, you need to maintain the relationship’s thread with your existing customers, but at the same time, it is not possible to interact with every existing customer. 

For instance, if you think about the call option, there is another challenge like how many customers you are going to call.

It also sometimes happens that if you are not in touch with existing customers, you will probably end up losing them. Believe me, losing a reputed customer hurts a lot and can negatively impact your sales personality and goodwill in the long run. 

So, what’s the solution? 

To make sure that you don’t lose any customers due to communication gaps, you need various communication channels such as SMS marketing, Whatsapp marketing, and email marketing to engage with your prospects.

For example, IKEA, one of the largest home furnishings retailers worldwide, with more than 464 stores in 52 countries uses SMS marketing channels to increase engagement and drive in-store traffic.

IKEA uses SMS marketing to engage with customers [Source- Falkon].

Another example of SMS marketing is Domino’s, the world's largest pizza chain, delivering over one million pizzas every day. They use SMS marketing to send offers on Fridays and Saturdays when customers are free from their hectic schedules and more likely to purchase food from outside.

Domino’s uses SMS marketing to engage customers with offers and discounts [Source- SMS Archives].

Similarly, you can also engage your customers with SMS marketing channels and send promotional messages, price drops, discounts, or offers to your customers. 

SMS campaign of Zixflow.

Using an SMS communication channel, you can do various things to achieve sales success. Some of them are listed below.

  • You can instantly send SMS to potential customers to share updates and follow-ups about your products or services, which helps your business catch their attention.
  • Sending SMS can help your business stay top-of-mind with customers when they need a product or service.

  • Gathering feedback from clients can be an invaluable asset for your business. By reaching out to them through texts, you can gain a better understanding of where your business is headed.

  • Based on their feedback, you can improve your business strategies and approach to storytelling. This will help you enhance the overall experience of your customers and make your business more successful.

  • With Zixflow's SMS campaigns, you can reach a large audience and pay only for what you use. This will help you to enlarge your customer base while being cost-effective.

Show empathy towards customers

Empathy is not just about recognizing customers’ emotions but also showing them that you genuinely care about their well-being. When customers feel that you understand and respect their emotions, they feel free to share their concerns. It creates a stronger connection between you and your customers, and they are likely to go with your recommendations.

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” ~Dale Carnegie

Bounce back with a positive attitude

Do you face any rejections from customers? How can you make the next sales pitch the one that really counts?

Facing rejections is a common thing in sales, and emotional intelligence helps you become more stable. It develops a mindset in you to take rejections as a learning opportunity and bounce back quickly with your positive attitude and motivation.

Recall the time when you wanted your friend to try a fresh video game, but they initially declined. Instead of giving up, you talked with them, identified their gaming preferences, and persuaded them to give it a try. This positive and understanding approach is similar to how salespeople use emotional intelligence to turn rejections into successes by learning from them and staying positive.

Negotiation skills

Negotiation is the most important part of sales because it determines whether the deal will happen or not. With emotional intelligence, you can identify the customer's key demands, provide customized solutions to meet those needs and make the deal occur.

Imagine you are trying to sell a used car. Now, negotiation is a critical element here because it decides whether the sale will happen or not. By using emotional intelligence you can clearly understand what buyer values most in a car, such as its features and mileage.

Then you can start presenting your car by highlighting these aspects and offering a competitive price. This personalized approach increases the likelihood of closing the deal successfully.

Retain your customers by establishing relationships

Emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in customer retention and is the cornerstone of relationship selling. When you emotionally connect with your customers, it helps you build strong and long-lasting relationships. 

These loyal customers not only support the business by doing transactions, but they also recommend it to others. By understanding their emotions and needs, you can implement relationship-selling strategies and establish long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with customers. 

7 ways to achieve sales success with emotional intelligence

In sales, emotional intelligence plays an important role. It helps you to build strong relationships with your customers and understand their needs. Here are 7 key ways you can use to achieve sales success.

Take better decisions with self-awareness

Self-awareness means recognizing your own emotions and understanding how it reflects on your behavior and affects your decisions while delivering a sales pitch. With self-awareness, you can effectively manage your emotions and make better decisions during interactions with customers.

Let’s take a situation where you notice the client is not interested in your sales pitch. In this situation, self-awareness helps you stay calm, avoid reacting negatively, and ask questions to better understand their needs, which can improve sales processes and increase your chances of making a successful sale.

To develop self-awareness and problem-solving skills for better dealing with tough sales situations, you can proactively indulge yourself in activities like practicing Yoga and meditation, mindfulness, IQ quizzes, and even making notes of your daily sales experiences. Doing these activities daily will help you become more self-aware and emotionally intelligent.

Active listening

Active listening does not mean hearing customers' words. It refers to listening to the customer’s words and paying attention to their tone, emotions, and body language to get a deeper understanding of their needs.

It helps you to understand your customer's perspective, feelings, and needs, and to avoid misunderstandings and assumptions. Active listening also shows that you respect and value customers' words and you are willing to work to find a solution to their concerns.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” ~ Stephen R. Covey

Genuine customer connection 

Genuine customer connection means building real, meaningful relationships with your customers. It’s about treating each customer like a unique individual, understanding their needs, and listening to what they have to say.

No customer wants sympathy, they need empathy. It’s not like you are following a sales script, it’s like you are making every interaction personal and memorable.

With a genius customer connection, you get a better understanding of your audience. This kind of connection leads to loyalty and long-lasting relationships with your customers.

For example, Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign strengthened its connection with customers through personalized product labels and names. It encourages people to find their names or share a Coke with someone special through the #ShareACoke hashtag.

Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign builds stronger relationships with its customers [Source- Marketing mag]

By associating their brand with positive emotions and personal connections, Coca-Cola aimed to create a genuine bond with customers, making them feel a deeper connection to the product.

Adapting different personalities

Every customer has their own communication style and preferences. Being an emotionally intelligent salesperson you have to adjust your communication style, pace, or tone of voice to connect effectively with your customers.
For example, Nike, one of the best-known brands for footwear, apparel, and equipment recognizes that their customers are diverse, including athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and fashion-focused people.

To serve this wide range of personalities, Nike adapts to different personalities. For sports persons, they highlight the technology in their gear, for fashion conscious they collaborate with famous celebrities to show their products are stylish and fashionable. Also, their marketing campaigns are designed to inspire and motivate people, who seek self-improvement and empowerment.

Nike collaborated with Mh Farah who is an Olympic gold medalist [Source- Brandmaster Academy].

By implementing sales personality traits in their marketing campaign, Nike increased their sales and built an effective connection with all types of customers.

Manage stress

Salespeople have to fulfill their targets, and sometimes the pressure to achieve these targets leads to stress.

Here is one beautiful example that I came across some years back and I like it a lot.

The longer you hold your stress the heavier it gets [Source- fs.blog].

Image file name/alt/description- emotional intelligence in sales- stress management example.png.

With the above example, it’s clear that if you hold your worries for longer, your stress will get heavier.

Similarly, as a salesperson, if you hold the worst part, like a bad pitch that you put, customer uninterest, and ignorance of the customer, your mind will be affected, and you won’t make your next sales call confidently.

Instead of holding it in a negative way, take all these as a review and work on them so that whenever you do your next sales call, you do not repeat that same mistake again.

Along with this, you can also manage your stress by practicing yoga, exercising, and deep breathing daily. These techniques will prevent emotional reactions and keep you focused.

Built rapport

Rapport is the bond or relationship that you have built with your customers by understanding their issues and difficulties. It helps you and your customers build trust. As you get to know your clients and they get to know you more, the process becomes smoother and easier. They can give you the authority to find the solution to their problem, and you can expect them to take your advice.

For example, Apple has masterfully built its rapport with people by emotionally connecting with them through its attractive marketing campaigns. Their advertisement awakened a sense of aspiration and emotion, focusing on the human experience rather than just the product features.

They also showcase how their products seamlessly integrate with people’s lives, making them feel more creative, connected, and empowered. Using emotional intelligence in their marketing campaign Apple created a strong brand loyalty and rapport with its customers.

Conflict resolution

Conflict with customers is the most common problem faced by salespeople, but as an emotionally intelligent salesperson, you can see conflicts as an opportunity. You stay calm, try to understand the customer’s perspective and resolve their issue by preserving your bond.

Suppose you are a customer who recently purchased a new cooler from the shop, but it stops working after a few days due to some random issues. You decide to visit the shop and explain your situation.

A shopkeeper without emotional intelligence might respond by saying, "There's nothing I can do. The cooler was working when you bought it, so you should contact the company's customer support.”

On the other hand, an emotionally intelligent shopkeeper would first listen to you properly and understand your concerns. They would express empathy for your situation and then advise you to get in touch with the company's customer support, assuring you that they will assist you.

In this scenario, the shopkeeper without emotional intelligence loses their customer due to a lack of empathy and understanding, while the emotionally intelligent shopkeeper strengthens their relationship by handling the conflict calmly and addressing their problem promptly.

Ready to enhance your customer connections and drive sales?

Understanding your customers' concerns and addressing their pain points while efficiently handling their emotions is essential for building trust, making relations, and effective communication.

But to apply your smart approach to emotional intelligence effectively, you need to understand buyer personas, which you can't do without evaluating data.

To evaluate data first you need to sort it out and Zixflow helps you to do that. Along with data evaluation, Zixflow also offers leads, people, company, deals, and much more.

With Zixflow people, you can put all your prospect's data in one centralized place. This helps to eliminate the need for repetitive data entry and allows you to easily access and share the information of customers among team members. By using Zixflow people, you can simplify your sales process and increase productivity, saving you time and resources.

You can also use Leads feature as it can be a valuable resource to help you track your customers' progress through the sales pipeline stages.

By monitoring the position of your customers in the various sales stages, you can gain a better understanding of their buying journey and customize your approach to meet their specific needs.

This can improve your sales process, help you build better relationships with your customers, and ultimately increase your revenue.

Using tools like leads, people, and deals, you can store all customer data in one place, segregate them based on their type (hot, warm, or cold), and find better leads, increasing the likelihood of converting those leads into genuine customers.

By categorizing customers based on their type, you can use your emotional intelligence to achieve remarkable success in sales and cultivate a loyal customer base.

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