The Energizer

Resilient Insights for Work & Life

Resiliency Skills for Today’s Sales Professional

by Eileen McDargh, Chief Energy Officer - Tuesday, March 21, 2017
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The sales profession is in the midst of a perfect storm. Buyers have more power, more information, more at stake, and more control over the sales process—than at any time in history.

Legions of salespeople are coming face-to-face with a cold, hard truth: what once gave them a competitive edge: controlling the sales process, command of product knowledge, an arsenal of technology, and a great pitch—are no longer guarantees of success.

Yet, in the eye of this storm, an elite group of top 1 percent sales professionals are crushing it. These Ultra-High Performers are acutely aware that the emotional experience of buying from them is far more important (and powerful) than products, prices, features, and solutions. In short, to my way of thinking, the emotional experience is all about CONNECTIONS—the basis for all resiliency.

I hope you will enjoy this guest post written by my colleague, Jeb Blount, who has just written a fantastic new book that takes you on an unprecedented journey into the mindsets, behaviors, and secrets of these ultra-high performers. It’s called Sales EQ.

The Four Levels of Sales Intelligence

The speed and complexity of the modern marketplace is the domain of intellectual agility. Ultra-high sales performers possess four types of intelligence that are tightly intertwined, each connecting, affecting, and amplifying the others.

  • IQ—how smart you are. Fixed and baked into your DNA.
  • AQ—how much you know. Makes IQ relevant.
  • TQ—how fast you assimilate and leverage technology. Makes more time for human relationships.
  • EQ—your acuity for dealing with emotions. Your own and those of others.

Ultra-high performers combine high IQ, AQ, and TQ with high EQ to dominate their competitors.

Innate Intelligence

Your intelligence quotient (IQ) is an indicator of how smart you are. Innate intelligence is baked into your DNA. It is a talent no different than athleticism. You are either born with a certain IQ or you are not. IQ is immovable. In other words, you are as smart as you will ever be.

Ultra-high sales performers are smart people. They are keen observers and have insatiable curiosity. They have the innate ability to connect disparate ideas, data, facts and patterns to develop unique and original solutions to problems—a critical competency in sales for discovery, challenging the status quo, and developing unique solutions and recommendations.

In sales, however, where emotions rather than rational decision making carry the day, IQ is but part of the performance equation. Innate intelligence becomes relevant, useful, and powerful when combined with acquired, technological, and emotional intelligence.

Acquired Intelligence

I was delivering a two-day Sales EQ seminar for a client. On the first day, I noticed that a couple of the participants were disengaged. The rest of the group of roughly 20 people were participating and energetic. But these two were almost hostile.

At lunch, I asked the sales leader if there was something going on. He confided that everyone had been excited about the training except for these two, who had complained about having to go back to training. “They think they know it all. But trust me—these guys need this badly because they are struggling to hit their numbers.”

Average salespeople who think they know it all—I see it every day.

Innate intellect is useless on its own. It must be honed and developed. Unlike innate intelligence, acquired intelligence (AQ) is not static.

Regardless of your IQ, you can grow your AQ with schooling, training, reading, along with practice, adversity, and experience. Acquired intelligence makes IQ relevant and useful.

Technological Intelligence

Technological intelligence (TQ) is the ability to interact with technology and weave it seamlessly into one’s daily life. Those who fail to develop this ability or who resist developing it will be left behind.

As technology—especially artificial intelligence—becomes a ubiquitous part of daily life, humans with high TQ will thrive in ways that humans with low TQ will not.

It is essential that salespeople adapt quickly to working with machines. Salespeople can no longer afford to claim that they are “not computer savvy.” If you don’t get tech savvy and quickly, you will be left behind and out of a job.

In the future, there will be two types of salespeople. The first group will tell machines what to do. The second group will be told what to do by machines. Trust me, you want to be in the first group.

Emotional Intelligence

The ability to perceive, correctly interpret, respond to, and effectively manage one’s own emotions and influence the emotions of others is called emotional intelligence (EQ).

Today, the impact of sales-specific emotional intelligence (Sales EQ) on sales performance can no longer be ignored. Buyers are starving for authentic human interaction.

In our tech-dominated society, interpersonal skills (responding to and managing the emotions of others) and intrapersonal skills (managing your own disruptive emotions) are more essential to success in sales than at any point in history.

Emotional intelligence is the key that unlocks ultra-high sales performance.

Mastery of sales-specific emotional intelligence (Sales EQ) explains why one person becomes an ultra-high sales performer while another is just average, even though the intellectual ability and knowledge of the two people are equal. Sales professionals who invest in developing and improving EQ gain a decisive competitive advantage in the hypercompetitive global marketplace.

About the Author

Jeb Blount is the bestselling author of Sales EQ and a Sales Acceleration expert who helps sales organizations reach peak performance fast by optimizing talent, leveraging training to cultivate a high-performance sales culture, developing leadership and coaching skills, and applying more effective organizational design. Contact: 1-888-360-2249 or visit:


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Eileen McDargh Keynote Speaker Blog Author

About Eileen!

Since beginning her consulting and training practice in 1980, Eileen has become noted for her ability to speak the truth with clarity, wisdom, humor and compassion. Long-standing clients and repeat engagements attest to her commitment to make a difference in minds, hearts and spirits of organizations and individuals. She draws upon practical business know-how, life's experiences and years of consulting to major national and international organizations that have ranged from global pharmaceuticals to the US Armed Forces, from health care associations to religious institutions. Executive Excellence magazine selected her as one of the top 100 thought leaders in leadership and among the top ten consultant providers of leadership development.

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