September 24, 2018


Sales could be described as the leveraging of human emotion in order to create desired outcomes. Ideally, these outcomes should be desired by both the buyer and seller to create a win-win. Using this definition, you can see why emotional intelligence for sales success is a topic of concern for all salespeople, managers, and the C-suite.

In my recent keynote speeches, I have introduced the main components of EQ and how to better develop it. Audiences seem to really connect with the material, so I thought I would give a brief rundown of the important points.

The Six Primary Stimuli

The so-called “old brain” responds best to six primary stimuli.

  1. ME! ME! ME! – Buyers only care about what you can do to satisfy some need of theirs.
  2. Simple, Easy to Grasp Ideas – The simpler, the better.
  3. Beginning and End – The old, emotional brain pays most attention to the start of a presentation and the end.
  4. Clear Contrast – Obvious choices make it easy to decide.
  5. Images (Pictures/Videos) – Words are great but pictures make an even stronger impact.
  6. Engagement/Excitement (Emotion) – It stands to reason that the emotional, old brain responds well to emotional or exciting content.

Start incorporating these into your salesmanship, and you will be well on your way to developing emotional intelligence for sales success.

Cognitive Biases

In addition to the six stimuli outlined above, the old brain takes a few shortcuts to make decisions quickly and with less energy expenditure. These pertain to emotional intelligence for sales success as each can be used to influence decisions. These include:

  • Anchor
  • Association
  • Asymmetric Dominance
  • Commitment
  • Compliment
  • Confirmation
  • Consistency
  • Contrast
  • Emotional Connection
  • Expert
  • Expensive Equals Good
  • Familiarity
  • Hyperbolic Disadvantage
  • Likeability
  • Loss Aversion
  • Negativity
  • Obeying Authority
  • Optimism
  • Physical Attraction
  • Placebo
  • Primacy
  • Rationale
  • Reciprocity
  • Representative
  • Safety
  • Scarcity
  • Single Option
  • Similarity
  • Social Proof
  • Status Quo
  • Trust

I explain these in detail at my training seminars and keynotes.

Plot your own emotional curve

The next point to develop emotional intelligence for sales success is to get tested using the Advanced Personality Questionnaire (APQ) to find one’s personality virtues and flaws as they relate to sales. I recommend this test specifically because of its very strong correlation to performance in various sales roles.

The test takes about 20-30 minutes to complete and can be taken from any computer connected to the web. It provides insights into which personality points need to be tweaked to better relate to others, and therefore boost performance in all customer-facing roles.

Follow up with coaching

Finally, getting your EQ up to snuff is something which takes practice and patience. If your personality has extremes, you might find it quite difficult to adjust in the beginning. Therefore, in my keynotes I always recommend personal coaching using the APQ results by a third party. This person should hold you accountable for your results and keep you on track when you slip. Doing it on your own can be quite tough.

Developing emotional intelligence for sales success company-wide is the “new thing,” and based on solid neuroscience. I consider it a great leap forward in the sales profession and expect to see more trainers and keynote speakers address EQ in their presentations. Please reach out if you have any questions.