As both organisations and markets have become more competitive and complex, the demands on salespeople have changed.

The Sales sector has moved away from transactional sales to longer-term relationships with customers, actual selling time has dropped to just 36% of the average working week and customers expect salespeople to be more knowledgeable and provide thought leadership. In essence, today’s salespeople need both cognitive intelligence (IQ) to act as ‘knowledge brokers’ and Emotional Intelligence (EI) to understand and connect with the needs of their customers.

To investigate further, this paper presents data on the Emotional Intelligence (EI) of 2,868 individuals working in the Sales sector who completed the Emotional Intelligence Profile (EIP), an online self-report questionnaire.

Compared to the general working population of over 28,000 people across nine job sectors, the Sales sector scored higher than average in EI. However, this gradually declined from 2009 to around average in 2016. Despite an improvement in 2017, which may indicate green shoots of recovery, this paper identifies key areas of focus in terms of relative EI strengths and development areas.

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About the author

Jo Maddocks | Chief Psychologist, PSI Talent Management

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Jo’s area of expertise is in developing and applying Emotional Intelligence in the workplace. He particularly enjoys creating new products and resources that help individuals, teams and organisations to improve. Jo has been in charge of creating and developing tools such as the Emotional Intelligence Profile (EIP), Team Emotional Intelligence Profile (TEIP) and the Leadership Climate Indicator (LCI). Icon---LinkedIn_Updated