42% of employees site their workload as the leading cause of stress in the workplace. High levels of stress can lead to decreased health and low productivity — and stress is especially prevalent in a sales career.

Beyond things like a healthy work/life balance and a supportive company culture, emotional intelligent employees will demonstrate a talent for managing work-related stress. High emotional intelligence is linked to a better ability to understand, perceive, and regulate emotions. The process of understanding, acknowledging, accepting, and acting upon stressors is what sets apart those employees who can manage stress and those who cannot.

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The actions employees choose to take as a result of stressors is perhaps the most important part of stress management, particularly in a sales career. The choices a salesperson makes during stressful times has an impact on the greater objective. A salesperson with high emotional intelligence will be able to consider the best course of action and anticipate the outcome and its effects on everyone involved. Emotional intelligence is a critical necessity for sales effectiveness.

Defining Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to manage one’s own emotions and the emotions of others. More than just understanding oneself, an effective salesperson needs the empathy to understand how their prospects will react and the decision-making skills to respond accordingly. Relationship-building is key to sales effectiveness, and the ability to understand the emotions of others is the foundation to trust and loyalty between the salesperson and their client.

But emotional intelligence isn’t just one thing, it’s a marriage of many soft skills that can be trained amongst sales teams. These skills work together to build a stronger understanding of how one individual’s actions impact the actions of others.

Specific soft skills associated with an emotionally intelligent salesperson include:

  • Mindfulness: Being present, focused, and ready to perform
  • Self-awareness: Possessing a clear understanding of your emotions
  • Self-Regulation: Evaluating your emotions in order to make a wiser decision
  • Motivation: Using self-awareness to make choices that power fulfillment
  • Empathy: Tapping into your understanding of your own emotions to understand those of others and their perspectives
  • Social Skills: Using your understanding of others to relate and connect

Coaching for Emotional Intelligence

A good technique for coaching emotional intelligence is the acronym SBNRR, which walks an individual through critical steps for catching a hold of and managing one’s emotions. Coach your employees on how to Stop, Breathe, Notice, Reflect, and Respond carefully to stressful situations.

  • Stop: Instruct employees on understanding when to stop or take a break from stressful activities.
  • Breathe: Give your employees the opportunity take a few moments for themselves and take a few deep breaths when they’re feeling overwhelmed.
  • Notice: Help your employees understand the stressors that trigger an emotional response and identify them accurately. Can you help them identify situations or conversations that are stressful for them?
  • Reflect: Encourage employees to reflect on why their stressors get an emotional reaction out of them, and what those knee-jerk reactions are. Why do they think that happened? What outside insights can you provide to help them associate their reactions with their emotions?
  • Respond: Coach your employees through the decision-making process that follows reflection. How do you act on your stressors, and what should be the outcome? How can you facilitate better responses when they feel stressed? How can you work together to create methods that recognize, process, and react to stress better?

Bonus Content: View the Essentials for Coaching Sample Competency Report

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Emotional Intelligence and Sales Effectiveness

When it comes to sales, soft skills are just as important as the hard skills necessary to sell. Emotional intelligence helps salespeople manage results rather than make excuses for what’s happening.

The confidence at the core of emotional intelligence is managed by grit and resilience, meaning that sales professionals are good at identifying and moving on from prospects that will never end in a win and recovering quickly from sales that have been lost.

A key skill that translates well into effective selling is the ability to separate the “what” from the “why.” When something fails, individuals with high emotional intelligence can learn lessons (Why did this result from what I did?) without taking the outcome personally. They see failure as an opportunity rather than a setback.

Sales effectiveness is attainable when the individual can separate what they do for a living from who they are as a person. The role is not their identity, and the more they can detach their self-worth from their role, the more effectively they can take on the myriad challenges in the sales professional. High emotional intelligence brings a self-awareness to the individual in which they can easily separate their personhood from the responses they receive from prospects.

Caliper can help you identify and coach emotional intelligence in your sales professionals so they reach their full potential and effectiveness. Reach out to our experts or start a Caliper subscription so you are always prepared for all of your talent management needs.