Encourage your team to use their emotional sales intelligence

Written by: Nisha Vyas-Joseph

Emotional Intelligence is a concept that gets thrown around a lot in today’s world.

How many times have you heard someone say “S/he lacks emotional intelligence”?

But what does it mean and how can we apply it to the sales world?

Having listened to hundreds of sales conversations, I can honestly say, the main reason deals are lost is that at some stage of the relationship, the salesperson has turned their “Emotional Sales Intelligence radar off”.

They’ve stopped managing their own emotions and the emotions of those around them.

For example:

  • They’ve pitched their service too early
  • Their proposal isn’t actually what the prospect was looking for
  • They’ve not spent any time understanding what’s driving their prospect
  • They’ve assumed a comment from a prospect is an objection and gone straight into “defensive” mode.


In this email, I’ve shared a couple of very common sales mistakes being made due to a lack of ESI (Emotional Sales Intelligence) skills and how we would recommend approaching the situation.

Scenario 1

A salesperson has a call booked in with a “hot lead” – a referral from an existing customer who pretty much told them it’s a done deal.

Prospect tells the salesperson on the call they are not sure whether to invest in-house or outsource this service.

Mistakes Typically Made

  • The salesperson is triggered by a “fight” response as they soon realise the prospect isn’t as hot a lead as they thought.
  • And so they start talking about the benefits of outsourcing, the cons of investing in-house and how they can potentially fix all the prospects’ problems.

Recommended approach:

Firstly make the prospect feel comfortable and take down any potential barriers:

“This is a very common dilemma. Let’s explore both options together and see what’s the best next step for you. Regardless of whether we support you or not, my number # priority is for you to do what’s right for you and your business.”

And then go into some deeper probing questions…For example:

“Tell me more about your end goal and what you feel is blocking you from achieving them?”

Put the time and effort into making them feel you really understand them before you start moving onto their options.

Scenario 2

A salesperson has just confirmed a sale but has spotted an opportunity to upsell:

Salesperson: “Ms Prospect, we discussed XYZ last time and I’d love to share how we have also supported other people with this. Would you be interested in learning more?”

Prospect: “No I think I’ll leave it for now and come back to it in a few months.”

Mistakes Typically Made

The salesperson responds, “I completely appreciate that. I just remember you mentioning XYZ was a big priority for you. Why don’t we start delivering these extra bits for you at a lower rate and see how things go over the next few months?”

Whilst some people may agree to be pushed into the upsell, more often than not they will change their mind and you’ll get a follow-up email saying “not yet”.

Recommended approach:

“Completely agree. This should be your priority and let’s put it in the diary to discuss at our next review. Just out of curiosity, what impact would not resolving this have on the business long term?”

The key here is to continue shaping the conversation over time with questions and adding “value” via insights and resources.

So there you have it. Two examples of how you can evolve your team’s emotional sales intelligence by encouraging them to approach things with a little more self-awareness, self-regulation and empathy.