How Emotionally Intelligent Sales Managers Lead Their Teams Through Change


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“If progress is impossible without change, those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw

 “We don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” – Gail Sheehy

When I speak to CEOs and sales managers, I ask them how many have seen changes in their business in the last six to 12 months. Almost 90 percent of them raise their hands.  Change is a constant, and sales leaders need to become very good at selling and leading their sales teams through it.  

But leading your sales team through change doesn’t happen by reciting inspirational quotes. 

Here’s where sales managers make a common selling mistake. They present logical arguments to their sales team about the benefits of change, rather than addressing the emotional aspect. 

Salespeople are slow to adopt for the same reasons prospects don’t buy your solution, even when your logical solution makes them more money, improves efficiency and lowers stress.    

Human beings don’t like change. 

Apply emotional intelligence skills and sell to the real buyer.

The reptilian brain is the real buyer when you’re selling change. In our sales training courses, (Click here) we teach that great selling is a combination of psychology, physiology and consultative selling skills. But many sales managers haven’t learned — or embraced — the important role this part of the brain makes in buying decisions. 

The reptilian brain is wired for survival, always on the lookout for danger. Guess what? When sales managers introduce a new idea or approach, it represents danger. The survival brain kicks in and says:

  • You don’t know how to do this – you could fail. Danger.
  • The company tried this in the past. Don’t waste your precious time on this flavor-of-the-month idea. Danger.
  • You’re already working 50-60 hours a week. This change looks like even more work.

Sales managers: Sell to the real buyer, the reptilian brain, and apply the powerful influence skill of empathy. When introducing change, step into your salesperson’s shoes and state what he or she is thinking and feeling. 

Empathy is the conversation changer because it’s only when you emotionally connect with another human being that they can hear what you are saying. They will be open to what you are saying because you’ve demonstrated that you hear them. 

  • “I know this change looks difficult and for many of you, you might even be worried about failing. … Should we talk further about this concern?”
  • “Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. This change looks like the flavor of the month, which could waste your time because … Am I correct?”
  • “Many of you are already working too many hours and you’re probably thinking that this is going to add another 10 hours to your work week. … Let’s talk about this.”

Selling change always has been an important skill for sales managers. In this age of disruption and innovation, it’s an even more important skill to develop. Check our upcoming two-day Ei Sales Management workshop, and learn how to better lead and influence your sales team. 

Sell to the real buyer. Sell to the reptilian brain.

Good Selling!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Colleen Stanley
Colleen Stanley is president of SalesLeadership, Inc. a business development consulting firm specializing in sales and sales management training. The company provides programs in prospecting, referral strategies, consultative sales training, sales management training, emotional intelligence and hiring/selection. She is the author of two books, Emotional Intelligence For Sales Success, now published in six languages, and author of Growing Great Sales Teams.


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