How To Succeed in Sales by Reading Emotions

BY Tim Londergan
Featured image for “How To Succeed in Sales by Reading Emotions”

Residential realtors are fortunate to have the opportunity to tour prospective homes with their clients. In the days of high inventory and low mortgage rates, realtors scheduled walk-​throughs. While pondering how to succeed in sales, listening during home tours gave realtors a terrific foundation.

Any chance a seller gets to know what their prospect thinks is a bonus. The more time spent building the relationship and sharing thoughts, the better. When a prospect reveals desires, you can establish trust and close deals.

Listen, Learn and React is How to Succeed in Sales

Sellers apply the science of emotional intelligence (EI) to gain distinct advantages in knowing their prospects’ needs, wants and aspirations.

The core components of EI include self-​awareness, self-​regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Importantly, you can cultivate and develop this set of skills over time. By integrating EI into your routine, you can ultimately drive better sales outcomes.


With emotionally intelligence, you give the impression of being open, attentive and non-​judgmental. In turn, your confidence affords you the luxury of directing full attention to your client. With practice, you develop a nuanced ability to read their emotions, study viable solutions and react accordingly.

Why is this important?

Emotions play an outsized role in human decision-​making. Your prospect makes their choices primarily based on how they feel rather than a rational analysis. Mind-​reading would be the best strategy for how to succeed in sales.

Short of that, we must try to read human emotions.

Human Decisions are Influenced by Various Factors

Countless factors influence your buyer’s decision. For instance, beliefs and values guide individuals toward choices that align with their moral, ethical and philosophical principles. 

Similarly, a past bad experience may influence your prospect. They may fear making a mistake that will threaten their future at their company. 

You cannot presume what factors take precedence at any particular time until you correctly read your prospect's feelings. Confoundingly, humans are very skilled at concealing, confusing and hiding their emotions.

Reading Human Emotions Requires Patience and Skill

Much like an iceberg, the majority of what your prospect communicates may lie below the surface. Consequently, the fine art of reading human emotions requires you to interpret both verbal and non-​verbal language.

Verbal cues:

Tone of voice refers to the attitude behind the words. “It’s not WHAT you said, it’s HOW you said it.” Tone can deliver a different message simply by expressing an "attitude."

Pitch relates to the highness, lowness or inflections that may relate boredom, anxiety or excitement. A change in pitch indicates the emotional tone of a person’s message.

Pauses act as verbal punctuation. They may signal emphasis, confusion, or if noticed, a particular concern.

Non-​verbal cues:

Facial expressions and their fleeting companion, "micro-​expressions," are common among all cultures, ethnicities and races. These "windows to the soul" – if you know how to read them, indicate the unspoken word. Check out the “Definitive Guide to Reading Microexpressions” for an interesting, informative immersion.

Body language, in some contexts, can tell us more about the subject’s emotions. Look for any of the six emotions a prospect conveys through their body language:

  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Surprise
  • Happiness
  • Fear
  • Embarrassment

Don't rely on reading emotions as an exact science. People express emotions in different ways. You should avoid jumping to conclusions about how someone really feels. 

However, increasing your emotional intelligence is the best way to succeed in sales. Do that by listening to your client’s needs, empathizing with their situation and acting in their best interests.

Photo by Domingo Alvarez E on Unsplash.