Every new year starts with the usual routine: coming up with ways to improve our lives, become more productive, have better work/life balance, and even practice emotional intelligence.

But if you're in the business of selling, there's one important resolution to make in 2020: love what you sell.

Raul Perdigão, Global Head of Inside Sales at Pipedrive, a top-rated CRM platform for salespeople, says, "If you don't love it, own it, and believe in it -- leave it. Then go find your passion for what you sell."

Perdigão notes that someone will have to work three times as hard as a person who loves what he is selling in order to be successful, not to mention that a person's happiness at work will probably suffer.

The takeaway? An effective sales strategy takes emotional intelligence, a lot of energy, and love for what you sell.

Here are five other tips from Perdigão on how you can apply emotional intelligence to become a better seller in 2020:

1. Be your own case study.

Go beyond just using the product/service you sell -- test it until it breaks. This will help in conversations with customers or prospects, as you can guide them in finding workarounds and solutions for any pain points. This knowledge will ultimately help you hold a more adept conversation with your customers.

2. Keep your energy level high.

This comes much easier when you love what you sell. When on the phone with a customer, remember that positivity is contagious; smile and invite them into your world as you guide them to success, as emotionally-intelligent sellers do. When you really connect with someone, you will have rapport and trust feeding the urge to buy. To continually reignite your energy, have a mindset of rest and pause; take several micro-breaks during the day, work standing up, or grab a coffee with a coworker to ensure a constant flow of energy. Knowing when and how to disconnect can help you make better connections with customers and colleagues.

3. Relearn and constantly challenge your listening skills.

Learning is a continuous part of growth in any industry, and for salespeople with emotional intelligence, retraining important foundational skills can keep you sharp and avoid plateauing. Selling becomes more powerful and efficient when you are actively listening to what a customer has to say about your product, so challenge yourself to be a more active listener, using both verbal and non-verbal cues to show you're engaged. Remember, the standard ratio for a successful sales-related conversation is 50/50 between seller and customer, so start your next meeting with a strong statement -- then listen.

4. Don't sell what you don't have.

It's not uncommon for customers or prospects to make a request that you know you can't deliver and could potentially result in you losing a deal. That situation is even more stressful when the solution is on your roadmap. The golden rule is to be crystal clear about what's available, tested, and working. There are times, however, when you may need to push your organization to close a big deal by offering a beta pilot, free trial, or exclusivity with a lead. The potential to develop something side by side with a lead can be worthwhile, but it's important to remember that honesty goes a long way in avoiding frustrations and setting expectations.

5. Use awkward silence to your advantage.

Silence is a hard skill to master, mostly because when prolonged it becomes awkward. But when you do it right it can be very empowering. If you are willing to remain silent while waiting for an answer, it will send a signal of confidence and control. You can also use silence as a means for discovery. After a strong and short introduction, state your goals for the conversation and apply a hard stop. Let the customer explain or vent a frustration, then follow up with questions like "tell me more about this," or "what seems to be causing that problem?" This will help you present a more targeted solution to address the customer's needs.

The possibilities can be endless for emotionally-intelligent salespeople, but the fundamental strategies for success remain rooted in honesty, authenticity, transparency -- and, of course -- in loving what you sell.

Published on: Feb 4, 2020
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