The Emotionally Intelligent Salesperson

Daniel Goleman, the author and coiner of the term Emotional Intelligence, recently posted a blog about The Emotionally Intelligent Salesman. Now whenever I think about the EQ of sales people I remember a blog by Tom Searcy, The 7 Traits of Quota-Crushing Sales Pros.  In this blog Searcy, based on his experience with thousands of sales reps in 200+ companies, lists off seven traits:

They have no time for anything that is not their deal.
They sell inside the company harder than outside.
They’re chameleons – they use all emotional tools to win.
They’re fierce client champions.
They understand their customers’ market better than their customers do.
They seek and trade information like the KGB.
They’re never satisfied…ever.

If you are an avid follower of Mad Men, in particular the trio of Don Draper, Pete Campbell and Roger Sterling, this list will surely resonate. Searcy ran this list by five quota-crushing sales pros who he knew. Every one of them said, “Yeah, that’s me. I’m kind of proud of these characteristics if I were to be honest.”

In his blog Goleman says high EQ sales people have competencies in empathy (especially understanding your customer’s needs), relationship-building, and influence. Most high EQ sales people have cognitive empathy, i.e. they know how a client feels and might be thinking, but they may use this information to be manipulative. However Goleman says that the truly high EQ salesperson needs to have compassionate empathy, not only does the salesperson understand a person’s predicament and feel with them, but are spontaneously moved to help, if needed.

I am afraid I must disagree with Goleman and agree with Searcy. Quoting Adam Smith “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.” It is not compassionate empathy that drives the high EQ salesperson but the understanding that if his client emotionally believes that his representative salesperson is doing everything he can to promote the client’s interests, then the client will support that sales representative by giving him repeat business. When the client feels that he is not longer number one with the salesperson, then the client leaves.


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Chris Golis - Author


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Your presentation on 'Lifting your Level of Emotional Intelligence" to 10 CEOs scored an average 8.9 out of 10 for the topic and 8.5 for the presentation which is great. A couple of the attendees gave you a 10 out of 10, and the comments were:

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