20 May 2021

Emotional intelligence for business and sales

эмоциональный интеллект

Why emotional intelligence is crucial for sales, business, marketing; how to leverage and develop it—our new text will cover all this.

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Studies show that 90% of successful professionals demonstrate high emotional intelligence (EI) and thus earn more than average specialists. 

Scientists argue that emotional intelligence has a 58-percent share in impact on prosperity in any industry. With these numbers in mind, we can confidently state that a strong EI is half the battle in sales and online business.

What emotional intelligence is and why we need it

Emotional intelligence is a skill that allows us to communicate with other people, society; understand and analyze what happens around us, and respond accordingly, in a way that could be favorable to us and others. This is a skill that helps establish a connection with the world and people: in our case, with the target audience, consumers, potential customers, and buyers.

Daniel Goleman, the author of “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.” According to Goleman, there are five components of EI:

  • self-awareness: the ability to realize yourself and your emotions
  • self-control: the ability to govern the emotions 
  • motivation
  • empathy
  • social skills: the ability to communicate and interact with other people

There is another model of EI, Mayer and Salovey Four-Branch Model of EI. It consists of four components:

  • perception and expression of emotion
  • use of emotion to facilitate thinking
  • understanding of emotion
  • management of emotion in oneself and others. 

Emotional intelligence is a positive characteristic, not a means of terrifying, manipulation, or other deceptive purposes. A person with strong EI never threatens, fiddles with emotions of other people, and does not employ mental abuse. Instead, they gently persuade, seek compromises, and adjust to the vibes of other people. 

And development of this skill is supposed to make a person happier and more successful: not bloody-minded, malicious, and autocratic.

A person with stable and potent EI trusts other people, does not haunt them with micromanagement, and can delegate duties and functions. They provide adequate feedback, can be flexible and motivating. 

With that, they withstand all kinds of manipulation and provocation, require feedback, and can assert their view. Sounds like an ideal salesman, huh? 

How to assess emotional intelligence

There are some standard tests that help measure emotional intelligence strength:

One can also dive into self-reflection. Think whether you can forgive people, handle your negative emotions, recognize and express your feelings, convey your message to other people, and understand what others want from you. If you cannot do all that, you may want to improve your EI.

How to use emotional intelligence in sales

One would say that this question can be answered with one sentence: for marketers, salesmen, and entrepreneurs, emotional intelligence is the crucial tool for understanding the pain points and demands of the audience. 

That’s partly right, but things are more complicated than they seem. Here’s what strong EI can help with:

  • Establish rapport with customers and give them what they need. You can not just listen to, but hear your consumers. For that, monitor your brand’s mentions on social media (use some tools for that). People’s opinions and reviews can help you reveal problems, improve the product and the marketing strategy.

    Representatives of Russian fast food chain Lao Lee noticed that customers didn’t like the new Bánh bao recipe. They decided to carry out a voting: users chose whether to roll back to the old recipe or stay with the new one. This is a great case of a brand feeling the customers’ mood and needs and ready to tackle their demands.

  • Envisage the customer journey and understand what emotions and feelings drive the customers—both existing and potential. Emotional intelligence can also help assemble the semantic kernel for content and advertising campaigns. The better you realize users’ emotions, the more key requests—including rare ones for which only few marketers set up their contextual advertising campaigns—you can collect.

    For instance, you sell kid stuff and baby wearing jackets. If you know your target audience, you will consider not only “buy a baby wearing jack” keywords, but also other queries that may interest mothers. Most search for not only baby wearing jackets, but also in-between jackets safe for a child, looking fancy and easy to wear. And you need to for the semantic kernel based on these low-key yet important needs. This is where emotional intelligence comes into play: it can help you realize the context from the customer’s point of view. 
  • Improve content, make it selling. There are lots of emotional triggers and mental tricks that add value to the content and spur consumers into buying. You can read about such triggers here. With strong emotional intelligence, you will know when and how to use such triggers. It’s important to (a) realize what value your product carries and how they can improve a user’s life, and (b) explain it to the user. 
  • Select a proper tone of voice. Empathy is a clue to good rapport, a skill that will help you find a common ground with your customers, and speak the language they perceive.
  • Set up automation correctly. We speak of a more specific targeting setup, humanization of artificial intelligence, and personalization.

    For instance, you use a chat bot. It will handle dialogs with people by the preset scenarios. To create such scenarios and tailor them to the needs of consumers at a specific stage of the customer lifecycle, you need to understand what users think about.
  • Enhance self-control. Sales are always saturated with stress. And this is yet another reason why it’s crucial to hide and manage emotions, and prevent irritation from slopping out at a decisive moment (when you serve a whimsical customer).

    Scientists found that the ability to steer emotions can improve social communication. This makes sense. When you see a negative comment, the first thing that pops into your mind is to return aggression. But people with strong EI can sort out any conflict. Leverage this skill when replying to people’s complaints, requests, and claims. Straightforward and friendly communication will promote your brand awareness and help you acquire loyal clients. 
  • Ignite emotions, thoughts, and feelings in customers that will push them to buy. As some studies show, emotion-driven advertisements are twice as effective than those appealing to the mind and logic. The higher the emotional response, the better the sales: here are the studies that support this notion. Moreover, emotion-based ads are more likely to go viral. Check out this Heinz’s case. Not a single word about the product’s qualities. Tons of emotions arisen.

Let’s sum everything up and get back to Goleman’s five components of emotional intelligence to see how EI can contribute to sales. 

  • Self-awareness. You have to understand your product, realize how it benefits your target users, what audience you reach, what value you carry, and how you stand out from competition.
  • Self-control. This is all about active listening, understanding, and friendliness.
  • Motivation. Values of your brand or product that you have to stick to.
  • Empathy. Remember that you sell products to living people: not impersonal beings. Every consumer is an individual who wants to be treated with empathy and humanity.
  • Social skills. Seek compromises, do not escalate the conflicts, do not fear to admit mistakes, and meet your customers halfway. Be sincere.

How to develop emotional intelligence

The best thing about emotional intelligence is that this soft skill can be easily improved and developed.

Understanding is a clue to growth. Cognitive behavioral psychology knows some techniques that will teach you to perceive your feelings—and this skill will allow you to realize other people’s emotions and feelings. 

It’s clear as a day: If you feel whelmed by an emotion, hold on and try to analyze it and why you feel like that. Tell yourself: “I’m angry because… To neutralize this emotion, I need to… 

Experts recommend keeping a diary of emotions: writing them down every day, specifying sources, and finding the mechanisms to govern them. The “emotion-response” chain is supposed to grow, complemented with alternative reactions. This way, you learn to discern stress factors, as well as your positive and negative triggers. Over time, you will be able to recognize other people’s triggers.

There are a bunch of other methods and tricks that will help you improve every aspect of EI: mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy, active listening, and psychology of conflict. You can google each of them easily.

A bit of soothing therapeutic wisdom: do not deny your emotions. Accept and handle them. Forget the stereotypes telling you what you must and must not feel (e.g. “men don’t cry”). Every emotion, even negative, is helpful. Every emotion can be used for good purposes.


Tips on developing emotional intelligence

Another exercise. Try to consider a complicated situation from different points of view.  Reflect on what your colleagues and customers may think about it. Try to be unbiased. Keep in mind that your opinion may not be the only right one, and it’s normal. 

We hope that you will do great.

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