How to Raise Emotional Intelligence for Increased Sales Performance

Sales and Emotional Intelligence Training for Sales Managers, Sales Professionals, and Entrepreneurs

Research into Emotional Intelligence has shown that there is a strong relationship between this ability and sales performance1. Daniel Goleman then made the concept better known since 1995 with his book by the same name. If you think about it, this makes complete sense. Do you work better when you’re happy, or unhappy? Furthermore, emotional intelligence increases our ability to empathise. This in turn, helps us to understand and sell to our prospects better. Zig Ziglar once said “Selling is essentially a transference of feelings!” Today you’ll learn three ways you can improve your emotional intelligence, which will in turn improve your sales performance.

Emotional Intelligence Tip #1: Put your health first Your emotions will be heavily influenced by the three pillars of health. This includes exercise2, sleep3, and nutrition4. What’s that? You don’t have time for that? That my friend, is exactly why you need to prioritise your health! Think about it – have you ever set out to do sales activities… Only you didn’t? Or, how enthusiastic are you when trying to work after a late night? Your emotional and physical energy levels will directly influence your sales. When your body is deprived of these factors, you simply cannot work at your best. I’ll make my tips for you simple but scientific. Here are three ways you can improve your physical health:

  1. Walk (or jog) outside for 30 minutes a day. You’ll benefit from the physical activity, and the sunlight will also enhance your mood5.
  2. Sleep for 8 hours a day. The reality is that what you do outside of work affects how you perform at work! Because this tip is easier said than done, I highly recommend you check out the book Sleep Smarter for great advice on improving your sleep.
  3. Reduce sugar intake and eat more low GI foods. High GI foods have been correlated with depression and fatigue6. Therefore, you can protect yourself against common negative emotions that naturally arise with sales.

Emotional Intelligence Tip #2: Practice meditation daily Emotional intelligence begins with understanding what you are feeling. By practicing mindfulness on a regular basis, you will more easily identify your emotions. As a result, you will be better positioned to handle those feelings. When practicing mindfulness, listen to your inner-monologue. Are there any negative thoughts or limiting beliefs? Challenge them! Ask yourself questions like “Is there any truth to it?” or “Where did that come from?” If you replace negativity with positivity, you can improve your emotional state and sales performance. By the way, sitting still for more than 3 minutes will probably feel a little uncomfortable! Nowadays, our minds are being constantly stimulated. For this reason, I strongly recommend using an app like Calm or Headspace so you can learn the basics. After one or two weeks of using the program, I recommend you practice mindfulness for 10 minutes a day. Your stress levels will likely drop7 and unlock your potential to sell more.

Emotional Intelligence Tip #3: Empathise through active listening

Empathy is the foundation of emotional intelligence for others. By practicing it, you will better understand other people. With this, you will be better equipped to understand what your prospects are going through, and sell more effectively. To increase empathy, I recommend that you become an expert in active listening. These are the three key components of active listening:

  1. Acknowledgement: Keep eye contact. You can make subtle sound cues like “hmm” or “uh huh” to help your prospect know that you are listening. Nod your head and use other non-verbal body language.
  2. Reflection: Let your prospect know that you understand. You may start your sentences with “So what you are saying is… ” or “Just so I understand… “
  3. Follow-up: Ask related questions to better understand what the prospect is saying. Doing so will demonstrate that you are genuinely interested in what they are saying.


Emotional intelligence is essential for successful sales professionals. The above action steps are simple, but often neglected. I’d like to encourage you to put your health first, practice mindfulness, and empathise more. Doing so will grow your emotional intelligence and subsequent sales performance. Because of the numerous tips provided, choose just one habit to put into practice immediately. You’ll be happy you did!


1 Elizabeth J Rojell Ph.D., Charles E. Pettijohn DBA & R. Stephen Parker DBA (2014) Emotional Intelligence and Dispositional Affectivity as Predictors of Performance in Salespeople, Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 14:2, 113-124

2 Edwards, Meghan; Rhodes, Ryan; Loprinzi, Paul (2017) A Randomized Control Intervention Investigating the Effects of Acute Exercise on Emotional Regulation, American Journal of Health Behavior, Volume 41, Number 5, September 2017, pp. 534-543(10)

3 Deliens, G., Gilson, M. & Peigneux, P. Exp Brain Res (2014) 232: 1403. Sleep and the processing of emotions

4 White, D. (2016). Improving Your Emotional Health Through Healthier Eating. Psych Central.

5 An M, Colarelli SM, O’Brien K, Boyajian ME (2016) Why We Need More Nature at Work: Effects of Natural Elements and Sunlight on Employee Mental Health and Work Attitudes. PLoS ONE 11(5): e0155614.

6 Breymeyer KL, Lampe JW, McGregor BA, Neuhouser ML. Subjective Mood and Energy Levels of Healthy Weight and Overweight/Obese Healthy Adults on High-and Low-Glycemic Load Experimental Diets. Appetite. 2016;107:253-259.

7 Jenny Gu; Clara Strauss; Rod Bond; Kate Cavanagh (2014) How do mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction improve mental health and wellbeing? A systematic review and meta-analysis of mediation studies, Clinical Psychology Review, Volume 37, April 2015, Pages 1-12

Sales Ethos provides sales training in Melbourne, Australia. Led by Ben Lai, our vision is to inspire and equip sales consultants and entrepreneurs to sell with purpose, pride, and integrity. Our core belief is that Integrity + Skills = Success, and achieve this by providing startup business coaching, sales coaching, and sales process consulting. Contact us at

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The Importance of Investing in Sales Training in the Service Industry

Investing in sales training is essential if you are going to enjoy success as a business. In the United States, billions are invested in sales training annually. There is a generally held belief that anyone can sell therefore there is little or no investment in sales training in some organizations. There is need for a paradigm shift and change of attitude towards sales training because it is what brings in the revenue. Whether it’s a manufacturer of tangible goods or a provider of an intangible service, sufficient sales must be recorded for the business to continue operating. It means that it would be irresponsible to employ sales people and allow them to “get on with it” on the assumption that they know what they are doing. Let’s explore some reasons why it is important to invest in sales training with a special emphasis on the service industry. As we focus on the service industry we need to broaden our definition of salesperson to include anyone and everyone who is the company’s link to its customers. They interface with the customer and how they handle the customer greatly impacts the customer’s decision to buy.

1. Trained salespeople ensure sales success, goodwill and customer satisfaction because they connect better with customers, are knowledgeable about the company and its products, are confident and believable. This believability makes it easy for the customer particularly for intangible products which you cannot touch, feel, smell etc. People buy you before they buy the product.

2. The business environment is extremely competitive. It is “dog eat dog” out there and there is sometimes little differentiation in terms of the products on offer, for example financial services, hospitality. Therefore, a high calibre sales force can be a source of differentiation and competitive advantage.

3. There are many skills demanded in the modern – day selling situation and there is a need to equip your staff on an ongoing basis, for example with communication skills, information technology skills, problem solving, emotional intelligence and administration skills to name a few. You cannot assume that your team is equipped without investing in them.

4. Salespeople are better able to adjust their way of thinking to the company culture, brand values and project an image aligned to what your brand stands for. I remember when I worked for a certain courier company that was a market leader at the time. We had a sense that sense of pride and confidence in the company’s products instilled in everyone from the courier, the salesperson to the executive. It was a result of constant training.

5. Trained sales people are able to build trust and credibility with customers more easily. Tangible products are generally considered to be easier to sell because you are able to demonstrate the features and benefits and you able to “show and tell”. The customer knows exactly what the product looks like before they buy and it’s easier to compare. What makes a service more challenging to sell is the fact that it is intangible, therefore trust and credibility become very important. Most sales training programmes deal specifically with this subject.

6. Most people will do better if they knew better. I don’t believe anyone sets out to wake up in the morning to go to work to be unproductive. John Maxwell says, “good leaders set up their followers to succeed whilst bad leaders set them up to fail. Deliberate training is important because it’s not everyone with a brilliant resume that will perform on the job. The business has sales targets to achieve therefore training gives one tools to produce good results in perpetuity.

7. The service industry relies heavily on brand image and perceptions. It is important to ensure that all client-facing staff project the right image. I worked at a courier company where the commercial manager who had a strong background in the hospitality industry insisted that whenever sales conferences or any other scheduled sales training workshops or seminars were held, customer service agents, operations staff and even the credit controller who managed customer accounts participated. The results spoke for themselves

8. One of the biggest challenges I faced when in my early years of selling was overcoming objections. Nowadays customers are better equipped with information about products including the ones you are selling. Train and equip your staff to be on the cutting edge in order to overcome objections with skill and close more sales.

9. For new recruits training makes adjusting into the new role, imbibing product knowledge and hitting the ground running smoother.

10. One of the major issues that service – delivery companies need to focus on is giving the customer an enjoyable experience, handling customer complaints as well handling difficult demanding customers, taking corrective action when things go wrong. You are judged on the basis of the perception you create about your product and at the point of consumption, where the customer is either delighted or disappointed. A lot of time, energy and resources need to be deployed to ensure that you win all the time in satisfying your customers.

In conclusion, I believe that training must be on an ongoing basis post the induction that happens when one joins the company. I recommend that training is conducted monthly if possible. Whether it’s a workshop, conference or a Friday afternoon in – house training make it happen. Whilst technology has made it possible to benefit from a plethora of online courses, interactive videos, white papers and eBooks, it is no replacement for the good old training workshop. It’s an opportunity for team – building, bonding between colleagues and time away from the office which is good for the team. Develop a training calendar budget. I highly recommend that you invest in sales training for your team.

Fitzgerald Mujuru is the author of the book Winning Ways- Precept Upon Precept and other titles.He is a sales training faciitator,online publisher and experienced marketer. As a business consultant he has helped in impacting corporates, entrepreneurs, organizations through consulting, strategy facilitation and training. His strengths include sales, marketing, brand building, business strategy, management and equipping leaders for personal and team effectiveness.

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