Key Concepts: Sales EQ by Jeb Blount

Key Concepts from the book Sales EQ by Jeb Blount

51kGfoyWJJLRecently I published a Quick Take on the book Sales EQ by Jeb Blount. Below is a table listing the key concepts that Blount introduces in the book.

Many of these concepts will be familiar to readers of other books on the subjects of personal development and effective communication. What makes Sales EQ such a compelling read is the way Blount introduces these potentially complex or intimidating concepts in a concise manner, all within the context of the unique relationship between a seller and his or her stakeholders.

Concept What it means Why it matters
Emotional scripts Patterns of communication between two people in familiar situations, reinforced by subconscious signals Buyers and sellers will repeat previous experiences, even when the individuals have never met, unless the seller can disrupt the conversation by using language that forces conscious engagement instead of reflexive response
Cognitive dissonance Discomfort felt when a person’s words and actions don’t align Reversing the micro-commitments made throughout the buying process is emotionally uncomfortable
UHP ultra-high-performance Blount’s term for the successful group of sales professionals who apply the book’s techniques
Heuristics Mental shortcuts that reduce the cognitive load in decision making Buyers make irrational choices, and instead use logic in hindsight to justify their emotional decisions
Cognitive bias Thought patterns that support people’s irrational choices Understanding how patterns like hindsight bias, attribution bias, and egocentric bias work can help sellers avoid direct challenges and increase engagement with buyers
Sales Intelligence Blount’s framework to describe what enables UHPs to outperform their peers Helps sellers identify areas of personal development for themselves and their sales teams
Innate intelligence (IQ) Raw cognitive capacity (“mental horsepower”), as determined by genetics, not trainable Behavioral traits common in sellers with high IQ can also make forming relationships difficult
Acquired intelligence (AQ) Knowledge acquired through training, study, and learning experiences Whether applied to the seller’s own capabilities, the deal, or the industry, working hard to increase AQ provides a competitive advantage
Technological Intelligence (TQ) The extent to which sellers use “adopt, adapt, adept” toward new technology in their roles Remaining open to the role of technology in sales, and learning how to use it effectively will give sellers an advantage over their peers who label themselves as “not savvy”
Emotional intelligence (EQ) Adapted from Goleman’s research; Blount’s definition includes empathy, self-awareness, self-control, and sales drive Sellers will positively differentiate themselves and gain a competitive advantage when they invest in developing high EQ
Locus of control Belief as to whether a person’s success or failure in life is his/her own hands (internal) or determined by outside factors (external) Internal locus of control often enables people to achieve high EQ
Win probability Likelihood that a seller will successfully close a deal Headline metric that UHPs focus on, which motivates their behaviors when prospecting, qualifying, and developing opportunities
Dual process Balancing relationship building with sales outcomes (i.e., winning deals) Sales-specific EQ means making equal investments in these objectives
Murder boarding Objectively evaluating win probability of opportunities in a seller’s pipeline by a peer or manager By removing biases caused by overconfidence or desperation, a seller can focus on the right deals
Micro-commitments Small steps forward in a deal, demonstrated by investing time, emotion, or action A buyer’s small agreements throughout a deal create positive psychological patterns and reduce the effort to close in the final stage
Take-away Seller makes a sincere offer to stop deal discussions based on a perceived lack of buyer engagement Stops wasting effort when the buyer is truly unengaged; creates scarcity effect in a buyer who is bluffing or following subconscious scripts
Next step Mutually agreed action or scheduled follow-up meeting Absolutely essential for a seller to secure a commitment to a next step in each buyer interaction, otherwise the win probability plummets
Self-disclosure loop The act of sharing personal information releases dopamine in the brain, causing pleasurable feelings and lowering inhibitions, which continues the cycle By asking open questions, using active listening techniques, and becoming comfortable with silence, the seller can gain control over the conversation and learn about the true needs and intentions of the buyer
Dual process discovery Questioning technique that builds empathy while revealing important details about the deal UHPs develop their own repertoire of questions that move from broad open-ended, to probing, to clarifying questions, while maintaining positive intent and empathy
Bridging Messaging technique that links the buyer’s stated (or implied) problem, to a personalized recommendation, to a planned result Avoids “pitch slapping” and increases buyer’s affinity for the seller, which positively influences decision making

Next up on will be a downloadable summary of the major sections of the book Sales EQ by Jeb Blount. Looking for more great books? Check out the essential reading list.



Quick Take: Sales EQ by Jeb Blount

Quick Take on the book Sales EQ by Jeb Blount

Yes, this is a psychology book: it helps you understand human emotions, cognitive patterns, and communication styles in order to build more effective relationships. Jeb Blount’s book, Sales EQ, explains these concepts in the context of the very specific relationships that exist between a seller and his or her stakeholders.


Most popular sales books focus on the sales process, qualification techniques, and the mechanics of closing (Sales EQ adds a few of its own, also). Let’s call these “the what” of selling. Other sales books define common personas, found in either buyers or sellers, exploring the attributes of each persona and how they lead to higher or lower win rates (Sales EQ also contributes to this category. Let’s call these “the who” of selling.

What sets Sales EQ apart, and what makes this such a unique and profound work when compared to other sales books, is how concisely and comprehensively it covers “the how” that sits behind both the what and the who of sales effectiveness. Blount takes the framework from Daniel Goleman’s research on Emotionally Intelligent Leadership (HBR, 1998-2001), and expands it to include concepts on decision making and communication introduced by authors spanning Cialdini, Pink, Heath, Carter, Ekman & the Dalai Lama, and more.

  • Has your team burned through a stack of sales methodology books and acronyms, from SPIN Selling, to The Challenger Sale, BANT, DISCOVER, MEDDIC, WOLFE, and everything in between, yet still struggles with low quota attainment and high turnover?
  • Have you sat in the room with a top-notch seller–either as a peer or a buyer–and been mystified with how effortlessly they get to “yes”?
  • Even more acutely, have you listened to a recording of yourself on a sales call and wondered “who is that monster and why in the world did he/she say that?”

For anyone who nodded to the questions above, or would simply like the convenience of finding 12 books on human emotion and communication condensed down in one volume, Sales EQ is a must-read.

Interested? Review my list of the key concepts from the book Sales EQ by Jeb Blount. Look for a downloadable book summary soon, here on In the meantime, check out other highly recommended books on the essential reading list.


What is personal development?

Personal development starts with self-awareness.
Personal development starts with self-awareness.

A colleague of mine asked an intimidatingly simple question: what is personal development? Reflecting on my own experiences, my error was working on “the how” before I had an understanding of “the why.” Of course at the time I thought I was doing the right thing, and this realization didn’t come until I had the luxury of hindsight. Below are the three steps I’d suggest following sequentially to develop your character and enjoy life’s experiences more fully at work and at home. I hope you find them helpful.

  1. Expanding your self-awareness
  2. Defining who you are and where you’re going
  3. Building proficiency and perspective

Expanding your self-awareness

A fundamental and easily overlooked step in personal development is learning to see yourself more objectively. Ironically, what is obvious to the people we interact with all day can be completely surprising and intimidating to ourselves. Once we overcome the irrational fear and judgement associated with this, what we learn can be powerful. True North, What got you here won’t get you there, and Emotional Intelligence are references that cover self-awareness. Here are a few techniques to help expand your self-awareness:

  • Start by asking your colleagues and friends to share more feedback with you about how you “show up” in different situations.
  • To make this less intimidating, try asking them “how you would describe working with me to a new employee in our office?”
  • If your job involves giving presentations or speaking to groups, try recording video of yourself and watching it later.
  • Right after particularly stressful, frustrating, or exciting situations–anything at one end or another of your emotional range–try to recall your thought process that lead to certain decisions or reactions.

Defining who you are and where you’re going

A greater sense of self-awareness should give you choices. You’ll have the choice of how to define your values and priorities, and choose the direction you take in life. Of course you can’t fake who you are, but with greater self-awareness comes greater control in a range of situations and the ability to “dial up” the attributes that will help you most on the path you choose. One resource I have found helpful in establishing a purpose is The Way of the Superior Man (Deida has also written books for women). Never forget that the path you choose is ultimately up to you: any constraints that appear to stand in your way can be removed. Here are some questions to help you reflect on who you are and where you’re going?

  • When you have a great day, what makes it great? What is the worst part of a bad day?
  • List your favorite three people to spend time with. What draws you to them? How would you develop those attributes in yourself?
  • Take the memory stick test to understand what rewards motivate you
  • Try to write your obituary (very difficult!). How do you want to be remembered?

Building proficiency and perspective

The final phase of personal development is deepening your capability to excel in the role you’ve chosen in order to fulfill your purpose. This is transition between personal and professional development. Depending on the profession or role you choose, different journal articles, associations, and books will be helpful to deepen your knowledge. I’ve compiled a list of my favorites on professional services and sales from my stint in consulting.

I hope this overview provokes your thinking. How has your personal development experience compared to this? Did you answer different questions, or in a different order?