Emotional Intelligence, also known as emotional quotient (EQ) has been a recurring theme in Corporate America and in varied professional environments for years. It’s been linked to performance and success in areas including customer retention, increased sales, leadership management, and so many other facets. A study conducted by Talent Smart, tested emotional intelligence alongside 33 other important workplace skills, and found that emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance, explaining a full 58 percent of success in all types of jobs. In that same study, 90% of top performers have a higher emotional quotient and make $29,000 more annually than lower EQ counterparts.
So, what is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is defined as our ability to recognize and control our own emotional states, while also being mindful of the emotional states of those around us. It's all about awareness!
Genos International does a great job of explaining emotional intelligence in 6 steps with the The Genos Model of Emotional Intelligence.
We simplify this into 4 major skills areas.
Four Skills of Emotional Quotient (EQ)
- Personal Awareness- (self-awareness) Being aware of your emotions and recognizing how they manifest as they are happening. Knowing how you react to triggers for example, if someone disagrees with you in an argument, you might roll your eyes, and/or slam things down on the table to show disapproval.
- Personal Management- Managing your emotions and finding better or positive ways to express them. For example, during an argument you might respectfully end the conversation to de-escalate the situation without making the other person feel small because they don’t agree with you.
- Social Awareness- Once you have identified and are able to manage your emotions, you now have insight into how others manage or don’t manage their emotions. In this phrase, you will be aware of behaviors and the lack of awareness from others and are now be able to see things from a different perspective.
- Relationship Management - Your ability to use your awareness and the emotions of others to develop and maintain relationships. These skills are vital in working in teams and with partners, clients, vendors and customers.
How to Develop More EQ
Unlike intelligence quotient (IQ), emotional intelligence can be learned. According to Travis Bradberry, the author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, communication between your emotional and rational "brains" is the physical source of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence requires effective communication between the rational and emotional centers of the brain. In other words, practice makes perfect, you won’t increase your emotional quotient over night, but you can over time. Having personal and social awareness and being able to recognize and manage negative emotions and stress is the x-factor.
- Be Honest: Building better relationships can only begin when a person decides it’s important and takes steps to get there. It’s an exercise in honesty and focus. Being honest with yourself and paying attention to your body and it’s responses helps emotional intellect. It’s also important to be aware of changes in mood; particularly in situations that manifest happiness, sadness, frustration, disappointment, anxiety, fear and angry. Diminishing old habits and learned behaviors and replacing them with effective responses, will improve your relationships with business associates and customers.
- Practice Empathy: Another way to increase emotional intelligence is to understand how others might feel. Empathy is the ability to identify how others experience and share emotions. Showing concern and interest into what others are saying is apart of active listening skills. Practicing active listening requires you to listen to others with your eyes and with your heart, and being present in the conversation physically and emotionally. Another great way to gain emotional intelligence is, by reading people’s body language and observe how they interact and respond to your behaviors. These techniques will provide you with insight and feedback on how others perceive your intentions and behaviors.
Emotional Intelligence, the X-Factor
Emotional Intelligence could be the tipping point that helps your partners and sales teams sell just a little more or the gentle tug that prevents a frustrated customer from taking their business elsewhere. It’s not that difficult to see that there is a lot to be gained from having your partners, sales reps, and other customer-facing teams trained to tap into their EQ. It could be a key differentiator that helps your business level up. Could emotional intelligence be the missing x-factor for your business?
Emotional intelligence is one x-factor that will distinguish you from competition and support career advancement. Attaining new knowledge and increased awareness of self and others puts your business on the right path to healthy relationships with partners and vendors, improved communication with customers, and better employee work performance.
How Emotional Intelligence Can Impact Your Business
Barriers can exist between business partners, sales, customer service teams and the client. When customers feel that you can’t relate to their needs and concerns, the opportunity for relationship building diminishes and interferes with potential revenue. The key to building better business relationships is having insight and rendering positive behaviors in the four skill areas of emotional intelligence (personal awareness, personal management, social awareness and relationship management).
Increase Revenue with Emotional Intelligence Training
If you’re a business manager responsible for driving revenue and managing customer relationships, Emotional Intelligence one topic that you should definitely cover. Emotional Intelligence, not only strengthens relationships, but it can increase your revenue.
A research study concerning the relationship between emotional intelligence and sales performance was conducted in 2015. Results indicated that EI is positively related to sales revenues. Kidwell, Hardesty, Murtha, and Sheng (2011) also found that real estate and insurance salespeople with higher EI generate higher annual sales revenue and are better at retaining customers. In the article, Enhancing Sales Performance Through Emotional Intelligence Development, Jennings and Ben Palmer (2007) found improvements in sales revenue resulting from EI training in a large pharmaceutical company.
As studies have shown, time and time again, emotional intelligence training is a worthwhile investment, especially if the goal is to improve sales performance. Get the balls rolling in your favor, and strongly consider emotional intelligence training for your sales and customer service teams.
Build Your Emotional Intelligence Program in 3 Steps
- Use Blended Learning - A blended learning training model is an appropriate way to train on Emotional Intelligence. In-person training, allows participants to conduct role plays, discussion and interpretation of scenarios through feedback. Online training using an Learning Management System (LMS) is a great way to reinforce the learning material that was done in-person, and participants will have a greater appreciation for the material. With the right LMS, you should even be able to track in-person or live webinar training metrics, in addition to online training performance. Emotional intelligence training should be conducted and completed on a quarterly basis and should be a necessity on your training list.
- Incorporate Quizzes and Tests - Online testing and quizzes play an integral role in how trainees recognize the most important elements in a lesson. It also keeps learners more engaged and enhances the training course experience in their training program. For creating online tests and quizzes, trainers often use different question methods: multiple choice, true or false, and matching tests which creates more of a dynamic course and keeps material from getting too dull. Below we show an example of a dynamic quiz type which can be done on an advanced LMS.
- Try It Out In Real Life - After training is completed, an easy way to have your learners flex their EQ muscles is to have them practice in their everyday setting. In an article by John Keyser Emotional Intelligence Is Key to Our Success, he suggests these self-development strategies to boost emotional intelligence: practice greeting people by name, listen appreciatively in conversations, go for a 15-minute tour of the office every day and envision yourself in other people’s shoes.
The above suggestions coupled with practicing active listening skills on a daily basis are great ways to shorten the learning curve. When sales reps and CSMs are invested in learning about their prospects and customers, those prospects and customers will in turn be interested in learning more about your products and services. The more self and social awareness you have, the greater your chances of having success relationships that can lead to lucrative opportunities.
Stronger Soft Skills + Emotional Intelligence = Success
Other skills that can increase your emotional intelligence and profits are soft skills. Soft skills are personal attributes (such as character traits, social, communication and people skills conflict resolution, adaptability, leadership,) that are needed in any environment. Like emotional intelligence, soft skills can improve over time. By building a better human connection with business partners, customers etc., you are not only increasing your value but also your earnings. Kathryn Hatter, author of a small business chronicle article on soft skills, states that soft skills involve interacting with customers, clients, coworkers and colleagues both respectfully and professionally. She also offers great tips on how to build stronger soft skills.
Kathy Robinson, founder of the Boston career coaching firm Turning Point, affirms that soft skills are the key to building relationships, gain visibility and creating more opportunities for advancement.
Through training, follow-up, and practice you can not only help learners improve their emotional intelligence, but you can also build stronger soft skills. These highly desirable skills can not only strengthen your reputation and but also your image. Additional resources on emotional intelligence include: emotional intelligence online test and recommended reading list on emotional intelligence.
Focus on Customer Experience
Customer-facing teams must learn to understand your customer’s needs and make decisions and recommendations that support them. Remind reps not to focus so much on making a sale, but rather put empathizing with the customer and providing the best customer experience possible. Encourage them to take advantage of 1:1 opportunities with clients, get to know them and put their knowledge of emotional intelligence to work in every aspect of business.
With the right commitment, process, and training, any business could easily be transformed into a high performance incubator and see incredible results. Boost your bottom line with emotional intelligence training and see the fruits of your labor and relationships grow.
Everyday, businesses are seeing results like improved customer retention, increased revenue and better partner engagement as a result of their online training programs. Learn how.
Keisha Stoute is a content curator with 11 years of business experience in a number of industries. She is also an adjunct professor, empowerment writer, well respected professional mediator and principal trainer at Stoute Communications.