No Emotional Intelligence Costs You SalesEmotional intelligence—“the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions and use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions”—could be a great resource for your sales team. If they lack emotional intelligence, your salespeople might make errors that cost you sales.

So says Bruna Martinuzzi, the founder of Clarion Enterprises Ltd, and a contributor to OPENForum.

She lists six key mistakes she’s seen, with advice on how to avoid them.

No Emotional Intelligence Means No Emotional Connection

We buy from people we like—not a news flash, right?

But too many salespeople focus on closing a sale, rather than on forging a relationship with prospective clients. The ability to connect and create long-lasting relationships is at the core of emotional intelligence. A salesperson who enters the relationship “with the mindset of doing service” will more often make that all-important emotional connection.

According to Martinuzzi, doing service means “going out of our way to match a customer’s needs, making ourselves available … and taking personal responsibility for anything that happens, especially after the sale has been made.”

Listen More, Talk Less

Salespeople are often trained to speak over a potential customer’s objections, to get the sales pitch in before anything else happens. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes—do you think you’d like to be subjected to this approach?

Instead, Martinuzzi says, be aware of the affect your pitch has: “Watch for body language cues that signal when they've had enough.”

Emotional intelligence means you can ask prospects these key questions, and listen to the answers:

  • What result are you seeking?
  • What problems would you like to solve?
  • How can I help you improve your business (or your life)?
  • What does success look like to you?

One more tip: Take notes while you listen. Don’t rely on memory or you’ll be sure to forget something.

Lack of Self-awareness

Each salesperson has a unique style, but if they’re unaware of it, they can’t gauge the affect they have.

Researchers writing in the Harvard Business Review identify several types of behavior that work against closing a sale:

  • Socializers—People who talk too much
  • Storytellers—People who go on too long about past customers’ experiences
  • Focusers—People who obsessively stick to the script
  • Aggressors—People who come across as hostile or combative

Your salespeople need to know their sales style so they understand what’s effective, and what works against them.

Inability to Adapt

A salesperson with a high emotional intelligence IQ can adapt to unforeseen situations, and is open to new ways of doing things.

Lack of Authenticity

“When we use scripted sales pitches, we lose some of our authenticity,” Martinuzzi says.

Potential clients are generally alert to any false notes or insincere language in their dealings with salespeople. The most effective approach is to learn everything you can about the client before you meet with them, then “forget the script and speak from the heart about what you do and what you can offer.”

Emotional intelligence means genuine wins over faking it every time.

Where’s the Humility?

A salesperson who acts as if he has all the answers and nothing to learn from the potential client’s own experience is failing to make an emotional connection.

As Martinuzzi puts it, “Wanting to be the smartest person in the room rarely works.”

Successful sales happen when you connect with what matters to people. And what matters to people are emotions.

What sales mistakes have you seen or experienced, as they relate to lack of emotional intelligence?