Influencing vs negotiating

Your sales person’s emotional IQ is now more important than their negotiation skills.


It has often been said that very strong negotiation skills are critical to being a high performing sales person. However, findings from our “sales force fitness” profiling work, where we profile critical qualities for successful sales performance in many businesses, large and small, is telling a very different story.

Before you invest your training dollars into negotiating skills training for your sales team, you might like to think about investing it into influencing skills training instead.

Why? The ability to positively influence prospects or clients towards your brand and product offering – more so than negotiation – is what is needed in today’s market.

Products/solutions are often quite clearly defined and a salesperson’s ability to negotiate price and value-added services is limited in today’s market.

We are now finding some companies are setting prices for their sales teams with no room for negotiation, thus eliminating price negotiations altogether.

(Not always a bad thing if you ask me, given all the pricing discounts I have seen sales people giving away unnecessarily over the years.)

So what is a sales person to do now?

We are consistently hearing in interviews with high performing sales managers and sales people that the ability to positively influence the client is a more critical competency than the skill of negotiating. This has direct relevance to the emotional intelligence (EI) area of managing others emotions.

The emotional management of others is the skill of influencing the moods and emotions of others. A sales person’s ability to:

  • Influence a prospective customer to say ‘yes’.
  • Overcome a customer’s reservation towards a new product.
  • Help a client feel enthusiastic about a product they recently purchased.
  • Plan with a client how to best engage their ‘economic buyer’.

These are critical to success in business today.

In addition, we are finding that:

  • Accurately reading the client, gauging their reactions and then adjusting your own style is also being highlighted as a key competency of high performing sales people. This is relevant to the EI competency of recognising emotions of others, emotional reasoning and managing others emotions.
  • Building relationships and trust is also critical. For the past three of our major corporate projects in assessing “sales force fitness”, it has been cited as a key point of competitive difference. The ability to build trust-based relationships is influenced by a number of EI competencies – emotional self awareness, emotional awareness of others, ability to influence others’ emotions and emotional control.

Ask yourself: “How effectively are my sales people perceiving, understanding, reasoning with and manage their own and others’ feelings.” These skills are cornerstones to successful selling, as emotions are an inherent part of why people buy and why they do not.




Author: Sue Barrett is Founder & Managing Director of BARRETT Pty Ltd, an Australian based Sales Fitness Firm that helps businesses Build High Performing Sales Teams and is Author of soon to be released book ‘Sell Like a Woman’.




For more Sell Like a Woman blogs, click here.



Natt from IT Contractors writes: Totally on the mark. Meeting a need should can be an emotional experience even in business.For years now I tried to think like a man when it came to deals. Distant, reserved sometimes cold. I have now come full circle and am very much myself in all manner of business and it has paid off.



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