Emotional intelligence in sales people is a key determinant of success in sales people.
In actual fact, emotional intelligence is a key indicator of success across all professions. A study carried out by TalentSmart compared the role of emotional intelligence on performance with 33 other workplace skills. What they found was that emotional intelligence was the strongest predictor of performance success, accounting for 58% of success across all job roles. Emotional Intelligence is more significant than education, IQ and experience put together in determining performance success.
In the first of a 2-part blog on Emotional Intelligence in sales, we explore what impact emotional intelligence has on sales performance.
Why Emotional Intelligence is Important for Sales People
- Emotionally Intelligent Sales People Achieve Higher Sales Numbers – Because emotionally intelligent sales people are more adept at moving their customers through the buying cycle, understanding fully their customer’s needs and challenges and pitching solutions in a way that engages and excites their customers, they are, inevitably, more successful when it comes to winning deals, hitting targets and delivering profit. A study conducted by researchers Sue Jennings and Benjamin Palmer at multinational pharmaceutical company, Sanofi-Aventis, pitched one group of 40 sales reps who were given Emotional Intelligence training, against a control group who were not given the training and found that the group receiving the EI training outperformed the control group by an average of 12%. For the company, this equated to more than $2million in increased revenue.
- Emotionally Intelligent Sales People Achieve Greater Customer Satisfaction and Retention – Emotionally intelligent sales people are more able to flex and adapt their approach to suit their customers, to deal with customer challenges and, critically, to build trust-based relationships. As such, it follows that they are more likely to have happier, satisfied customers and to retain those customers. One study (Forum Corporation on Manufacturing and Service Companies) which looked into why customers moved to alternative suppliers, found that 70% of the reasons supplied for losing customers, were directly related to emotional intelligence. Another, conducted with sales people from multiple Fortune pharmaceutical companies, found that an increase in empathy, understanding and self-control resulted in a 31% improvement in the quality of their relationships with their customers.
- Emotionally Intelligent Sales People are More Likely to Stay in Their Jobs – Individuals with higher emotional intelligence are far more likely to enjoy collaborative relationships with their colleagues, meaning they are less likely to leave a job because of poor or strained relationships. A study by Initiative One found that individuals with managers who had a high level of emotional intelligence are 400% less likely to leave. Of course, workplace relationships aren’t the only reason people leave their jobs, but because those with higher emotional intelligence are more likely to be able to constructively and effectively address any areas of their work life they’re unsatisfied with, these issues become less significant too. Leading UK hospitality business, the Whitbread group, found evidence of this when they made the decision to place greater focus on emotional intelligence across the organisation – they found that their restaurants which had high EI managers in place had a lower turnover of staff (as well higher customer satisfaction and 34% greater profit growth). Similarly, beauty giant, L’Oreal, benefitted from a 63% lower turnover rate in the first year, for sales people who had been selected on the basis of their emotional intelligence level.
Recognising the significant impact emotional intelligence has on sales success is one thing, knowing how to improve emotional intelligence for sales success is another. In the second part of this blog on emotional intelligence, we’ll explore how sales people can improve emotional intelligence.