Skills that Sell and Save Million Dollar Accounts

Oji Editorial Staff | Mar 25, 2023
A group of business people sitting around a table.
A group of business people sitting around a table.

J&J hired the smartest sales team. They understood the product perfectly. But doctors were kicking their sales reps out of the OR.

They had an emotional intelligence (EI) problem that was costing them millions.

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is a set of critical skills that allow people to identify emotions within themselves and others. It’s especially useful in tense environments such as operating rooms.

In sales roles, it helps build relationships with customers and ultimately close more sales.

EI Training Increases Sales

In 2019, researchers proved that high EI increases sales performance.

384 pharmaceutical sales reps in Pakistan –the world’s 5th most populated country– were studied. Each salesperson was asked by a researcher to answer a three part questionnaire when they arrived at a specific hospital to market their products. An EI rating was assigned based on those answers.

The researchers then tracked sales data from all hospitals and medical facilities the pharma reps visited. The data showed sales executives whose questionnaire responses indicated a higher level of EI, made more sales and had better client retention rates than the employees who had been given a lower EI rating.

According to the authors, EI skills better allowed the salespeople to “understand the customer needs, achieve sales targets, and increase market share…”

But what if your company doesn’t already have employees with high EI ratings?

Is it time to fire everyone and start again?

Luckily for you –and for your employees– it’s been proven that EI is a highly teachable skill that if developed correctly, will be the ultimate competitive advantage for your sales team.

Teachable Skills that Drive More Sales

Research has shown that EI is a critical skill set for a successful sales team – so how can organizations put it to work to grow sales?

When it comes to sales training - many organizations tend to focus on profitability vs. relationship-building. But rather than lean into the old adage, “always be closing” organizations must focus instead on “always be building” - as relationships are key to success.

Emotional intelligence emphasizes skills that are crucial to all relationships, namely self awareness, self management, social awareness and relationship building.

If you look at the skills that are most in demand for sales professionals: active listening, communication, empathy, persuasiveness, relationship building, conflict management…all of them are rooted in emotional intelligence.

While traditional sales training gives employees valuable tools leading to better sales numbers, EI encompasses the foundation of skills that allow those tools to be used effectively.

Understanding the need for those skills, and how to make them part of the sales process is important, but the ability to recognize and identify the emotions customers are experiencing is what truly unlocks the potential benefits.

As an example, it’s obvious that “problem solving” allows salespeople to handle objections raised by customers. The difference is that with sufficient EI training, a salesperson will be able to recognize and dismiss the objection before the customer voices their concern – sometimes before the customer is even fully aware of the objection they’re forming.

This changes the entire dynamic of the conversion. As opposed to an objection and answer scenario, where a one party is attempting to dissuade the other of their opinion, points made prior to an objection being voiced hold more weight and are more likely to be agreed to as fact because they weren’t said in retort.

Enhancing Performance with EI Training

When the Johnson and Johnson executive team rolled out an EI training program, the results were immediate and stunning. The company was able to recover much of their lost business while continuing its double-digit yearly growth.

Emotional intelligence in sales is an important success factor that’s often overlooked. Overlooking emotional intelligence can hinder your team’s performance, but by prioritizing it, you can unlock a powerful success factor that drives sales growth.

And we have the data to back it. Studies show that sales professionals with high emotional intelligence produce twice the revenue of those with average or below average scores. Furthermore, sales professionals who received EI training outsold by an average of 12 percent.

Emotional intelligence helps businesses become more profitable by improving customer relationships, enhancing productivity, and facilitating more effective communication.

EI training for sales makes complete sense when you begin to break it down.

  • Effective sales people recognize their own emotions and understand their customer’s emotions during their interactions.
  • Empathy allows salespeople to connect with customers on a more personal level.
  • Put more simply, having the tools to identify their problem helps you sell them the solution.

Putting EI to Work for Your Team

Developing strong EI across your entire team is an absolute necessity in today’s corporate landscape. It benefits the employee and the employer. But as a tool to drive sales, there’s no other training that’s more effective for your sales team.

They can understand the product and practice the pitch, but if they’re not hitting the numbers you’ve been expecting, Emotional Intelligence training is probably the answer.

Ready to make your organization emotionally intelligent? Learn about the Oji Emotions Pilot Program and no-risk guarantee.

Latest Posts


Sign up for our People-Powered Newsletter.

Sign up for our newsletter, People Powered.