At a management seminar the other day, I was asked to define why EQ is important in a small business context. I defined a high Emotional Quotient as indicating ease in perceiving what others feel:
- Communicating effectively (two way).
- Listening actively (with attention).
- Speaking a shared language (and words).
- Making strangers welcome (across cultures).
As I listened to myself, I was shocked how academic, superficial and false this sounds. A more practical approach is to note that communication consists of thoughts, words and feelings and that when you get the mix right, your clients will be happier, making you more successful and more profitable. So let me give you three examples of how you might use your emotions properly:
Believe in yourself
Starting up your own business is never easy. Fear is perfectly natural but it can limit your achievements. If you believe that you cannot present your services, then you will not. If you are afraid of risks, you will miss opportunities. However, if you recognise your fear, you can harness the energy and adrenaline to give you an extra edge as you present yourself and your services to your customers. As you feel the fear, you consciously cut through the excuses and just do your business.
Your clients want you to listen to them and hear what it is they want to buy. As you practice your listening skills, you will find yourself restating their comments in different words, maintaining good eye contact with them and smiling at them. Sales trainers often say that selling has three parts: selling yourself, selling your customer's need and selling the solution you have to offer - all three parts require you to listen actively. As you listen to your client’s opinions, be open to their feelings and beliefs: this is what will drive or stop their urge to buy from you.
Tell it as it is and with feeling
Should you have bad news to tell a client, never sugar-coat it: people recognise deception and usually think less of you. So avoid euphemisms that would confuse your client, speak directly and plainly, recognise how the bad news impacts them, and provide some options that might help your client to move forward.
In summary, if you want to be successful, you need to be aware of how you feel and how your clients feel as you communicate and work with them. I suggest that each time you meet someone who you feel is important, check that your EQ is good enough to do business with them.
Adrian Pepper coaches people through business and personal difficulties, helping companies figure out what to do, how to move forward and what to get organised. You can contact him through Help4You Ltd , through his website at http://www.help4you.ltd.uk or by phone +44-7773-380133. At http://feeds.feedburner.com/help4you , you can listen to his podcast for small businesses.