Series on Emotional Intelligence: A shiny red car

Emotions shape all human interactions. Emotions are particularly important in sales because of the need to engage, understand and motivate customers. Emotional intelligence helps sales professionals to become authentic in their conversations with clients and create positive relationships. When we are able to understand how others feel, we manage relationships and sales situations more successfully and more effectively. Read on…


A few years ago, it was time for Sam to replace his car. Off he went to Bristol Street Motors in Stroud, where he had already bought two second hand cars, in search of a third. He discussed with the salesman his particular needs: “I was quite happy to buy another Ford Focus as I needed fuel efficiency (I did a lot miles then), reliability and so on.” The salesman picked up on the fuel efficiency. “Have you thought of a diesel?”, he asked.

“No”, I replied. “Why not?” “I don’t like them.” “Have you ever driven one?” “No”, Sam had to admit.

“Well, there’s one”, he said, pointing out of the window. “How about giving that a spin?”

Sam didn’t really feel he should decline the offer, so he did. They drove halfway to Cirencester and back and Sam realised that all his prejudices about poor driveability and a sound like an old London taxi were completely irrelevant. What was commendable was that the salesman, who came with Sam, made no attempt to talk about the car, let alone to suggest that he had been right all along. He just sat there, chatting with Sam about what he did at work, and other things. Sam duly bought the car.

The moral: If you want someone to change their opinion, you give them an experience, if you can. Experiences put us in our emotions and that’s the place where we change our views.