The Emotionally Intelligent Sales Manager

Denver-Based Sales Leadership Development Available Nationwide

Posted: April 9, 2014

There are varied definitions around emotional intelligence. Salovey and Mayer, early scholars of emotional intelligence, define EI as the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions. 

My very simple definition is:  how does your ability or inability to handle emotions affect HOW you show up.  One of the most important roles of sales management is the ability to teach and transfer knowledge.  And in order to teach, there needs to be a level of trust and respect between you and members of your sales team.  Trust and respect is earned by managing your emotions.  Trust and respect is earned by choosing how you show up and respond and react to the events of life.  How do you show up?

#1:  Are you present?  When conducting a one-on-one coaching session with a salesperson, turn off your phone and email.  I know you are busy and pulled in 10 different directions every hour of the day.  The emotionally intelligent sales manager makes a choice to be present, knowing there is nothing more important than the development of his sales team.  

It’s a fairly simple formula.  People feel important when you pay attention to them.  In the emotional intelligence world, we refer to it as empathy and interpersonal skills.  Pay attention so you can read and relate to your salesperson.  Pay attention so you can step into his or her shoes and figure out their perspective on life and sales.  Your goal is to discover what is preventing your salesperson from achieving her full potential.  Is it self-limiting beliefs?  Poor time management?  Skill development?  Intentional learning only happens with focus and concentration.  Model the behavior you expect from your sales team.     

#2:  Are you consistent?  When you take on a leadership role, you say goodbye to moodiness and temperament of the day.  If you decide to have a bad day, there is a good chance you can influence other members of your sales team to join you. It’s called emotional contagion. The dictionary describes it as “the tendency to feel and express emotions similar to and influenced by those of others.”  It’s often been referred to as ‘one bad apple spoils the whole bunch.’

Your team doesn’t want to nor deserves to figure out “what kind of mood you’re going to be in” based on events of the day. 

Years ago, I attended a conference where Judi Sheppard Misset, founder of the multi-million dollar Jazzercise organization, was speaking. The message she shared was about emotion management, even though she didn’t call it that during her presentation.  

Judi shared with the audience one of the reasons for her success.  Early on she made a decision on how to show up.  As the instructor of the class, as the leader of the class, her students were expecting inspiration and motivation.  Judi told the group that there were days that she didn’t feel that motivated to teach.  However, once she entered the gymnasium or studio, it was game on.    She chose to be in an enthusiastic and motivating mood.  And as a result, her students caught her emotions and also became enthusiastic about sweating for an hour!    

Your sales team is looking for inspiration and motivation. Make it a goal to be consistent in how you show up every day. Are you motivating or moody?

How do you show up?  Are you choosing your emotions or are your emotions running your day?  Make a decision to be present and consistent. Both will help you become an even better sales leader.

Good Selling!

Colleen Stanley