Are you looking to enhance your relationship with your business clients, vendors, contractors, and customers? Well, have you tried emotional intelligence as a stepping stone to business success? If you haven’t, read on to find out why enhancing the emotional intelligence skills of your employees and, ultimately, of the whole business is a positive win-win!
You might believe wholeheartedly that selling products and services and making a profit at the end of the quarter is everything. However, there are more ingredients behind a successful business. The most important one is how you emotionally relate with your employees, vendors, clients, customers, and so on.
Read the article until the end to learn what emotional intelligence means in the B2B ecosystems and how it helps you to become a successful brand.
What is Emotional Intelligence (EI)?
From a business perspective, emotional intelligence, aka emotional quotient, is your brand’s or organization’s ability to recognize, understand, and manage the emotions of internal and external people.
The startup founders, CEOs, and top-level management are aware of people’s feelings and those of their subordinates, peers, partners, clients, vendors, suppliers, and all other parties with whom the business interacts.
They need to carefully understand the counterparty’s emotions for better communication, collaboration, decision-making, and deal-closing. A standard EI or EQ practice within your organization helps you to foster a positive work environment and avoid professional or workplace conflicts.
Your business can apply EI in handling clients’ and customers’ queries. Imagine a business client contacts your customer service representative. The client is frustrated and upset about a product that didn’t meet their expectations. In this situation, the customer service representative with high emotional intelligence would handle the conversation as mentioned below:
Use active listening to hear out the client completely without interfering. They would also show adequate empathy by acknowledging the situation and assuring the client that their complaint is totally valid.
They would also reassure the client that your brand shall provide the best solution to resolve the situation.
A customer service rep with a higher EQ would never get into conflict with the client by denying after-sales service or claiming nothing wrong from the brand’s side.
The rep can offer replacements, discounts, coupons, or free technical support, whichever is valid as per the issue and business policies.
Furthermore, If there aren’t any real-time solutions, throughout the call, the rep should build rapport with the client so that they can pitch for follow-ups by a higher tier or the technical team. After all, the voice of the customer matters!
In his book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ (Bantam Books, 1995), which was on The New York Times Best Seller list for more than a year, EI or EQ has the following five components:
When you know if you’re happy😊, sad😢, or angry😡, you can make better choices, and that’s self-awareness. Being self-aware is the first step in managing your emotions effectively. It helps you see how your emotions impact your actions and decisions.
#2. Self-Regulation or Management
In situations of conflict, loss, etc., instead of letting anger or frustration take over, you should stay calm and think clearly. It’s like keeping your cool when things go wrong. When you can manage your emotions, you can handle stress and difficult situations more calmly.
You must smartly handle the asserting behavior of the counterparty and calmly deal with them to avoid any conflict in the first place.
When your organization or brand is highly motivated towards success, growing client base, increasing closed deals, and boosting customer experience, your teams utilize their emotions at the workplace or in the field in the best ways.
Your business will stay focused on winning more deals, calming down frustrated customers, etc., thus focusing on the primary goal.
When you and top managers in your brand start seeing clients’ and customers’ problems from their perspective, that’s empathy. It’s about accepting that your product or service could sometimes fail and putting your shoes into the customers and feeling their pain points.
When you’re empathetic, you can connect with people on a deeper level. Such an attitude even helps you retain the most frustrated clients and customers and build brand advocacy!
#5. Social Skills
Social skills help your business understand the geographies and people where you operate the business instead of mere customer segmentation practices. You know the cultural values of the people you interact with. Social skills also help you and your top management communicate effectively with clients, customers, and vendors and get along with them.
It helps you to solve problems raised by the clients or vendors and build a positive connection with everyone linked to your business operations, not just the client or customers.
Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Business
Emotional quotient is vital for any business. It helps your teams work together smoothly, resolve conflicts, and communicate effectively with internal and external parties.
When your employees have a high EI, they understand their emotions and those of their colleagues, making teamwork more productive. In addition, EI enhances customer service, as employees can empathize with customer needs and provide better solutions.
Moreover, EI plays a critical role in leadership. Leaders with high EI inspire and motivate their teams, creating a positive work environment.
They handle stress well and make thoughtful decisions. In negotiations and client interactions, EI fosters strong relationships, leading to increased trust and loyalty. In short, EQ isn’t just a personal skill; it’s a valuable asset that boosts B2B success rates.
To improve the emotional quotient of your organization or brand, follow these steps:
#1. Focus on Your Leadership
To improve the EI of your business, you must start from top to bottom. So, ask your leadership team to lead by example. Encourage them to show empathy, and self-awareness, and practice effective communication.
#2. Train Employees
Offer training programs to subordinate employees that teach emotional intelligence skills to them. The employee training should focus on self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, and interpersonal skills.
#3. Foster a Positive Workplace Culture
Create a workplace culture that values emotions and well-being. Your workplace should also encourage open communication, provide support for mental health, and recognize achievements.
#4. Revamp the Hiring Practice
You must also incorporate emotional intelligence assessment into your hiring process. Look for candidates who not only have the necessary skills but also display emotional quotient in practical ways.
#5. Feedback and Recognition
Provide regular feedback to employees who are undergoing EI training. Evaluate employees more often in town halls or other company meetings to celebrate success in public. You could also provide recognition and reward employees who show heightened EI and interpersonal skills.
#6. Enforce Emotionally Intelligent Policies
You should also create and implement emotional intelligence in HR policies so that each employee values EI and EQ. The policy should guide the employees to always observe the maximum possible EI when interacting with internal and external parties.
#7. Train Frontline and Customer Facing Workforce
You must implement a standard training curriculum for customer-facing and frontline employees that states ways to improve the interpersonal and EI skills of the employees. Such employees should demonstrate the maximum practical use of EI since they deal with clients more often.
B2B Emotional Intelligence Use Cases
#1. In Workplace
Practicing EI and EQ at the workplace means that all employees should interact with each other professionally. They should also try to gauge the emotional state of the counterparty so that they can accordingly modulate their tone of conversation. Employees must continually try to avoid conflicts and practice clear communication.
#2. In Business Leadership & Management
Leaders and managers with high emotional intelligence make informed decisions, handle challenges calmly, and create a supportive work environment. They can also understand the emotions of employees who were unable to meet sales or marketing targets. Thus, offer practical training to the team members to enhance their technical and soft skills.
#3. In Conflict Resolution
Emotional quotient plays a crucial role in resolving conflicts within a business and between businesses. When you and your clients or vendors can identify and manage emotions and empathize with each other, they can address disagreements more constructively.
#4. In Administration
EI and EQ are also valuable in administrative roles. Administrative staff who can manage their emotions well are more effective in handling challenges and new tasks, addressing inquiries, and interacting with colleagues and clients. They contribute to the overall efficiency of the organization.
#5. In Supplier and Partner Relationships
You must always be patient and empathetic when dealing with a third-party contributor to your business. When things go wrong, you can’t just penalize them or cut contracts. Things go wrong most often in third-party engagements,, and you must tackle it smartly by using your emotional quotient.
For example, if a vendor is unable to supply raw materials on time since they are specifically offline market-focused, you can help them go digital by providing the needed tools and training.
Emotional Intelligence Challenges
Find below the challenges you might face in your organization and with external partners when pushing for enhanced EI:
Employees and leaders may resist adopting new emotional intelligence practices if they are accustomed to traditional ways of doing business.
Finding time for emotional intelligence training and development can be challenging in fast-paced B2B environments.
There are no tangible metrics to assess the status of EI training and adoption. The impact of emotional intelligence enhancements can be difficult, as it often involves intangible outcomes like improved communication and collaboration.
Smaller B2B organizations may face resource constraints in implementing comprehensive EI programs.
Thus, identifying and addressing skill gaps related to emotional intelligence in the workforce can be a challenge.
Emotional Intelligence Tools
#1. Mind Tools
Mind Tools gives you access to on-demand content like articles, quizzes, videos, infographics, and more so you can foster emotional well-being.
When you and your team members are aware of emotional cues and how those affect business relationships, you can create strategies to avoid those interactions.
#2. SEI Neural Net
SEI Neural Net uses AI and ML technologies and various EQ analytics so it can create a practical action plan for you, your leadership team, and employees to enhance EI.
It comes with effortless and intuitive step-by-step instructions on enhancing EQ by enhancing core EI skills like Relationship Management, Social Awareness, Self-Management, and Self-Awareness.
#4. Emotional Intelligence Habits
You can take your EI to the next level by reading this interesting book. It helps you to form and practice good habits, break away from bad habits, and become an expert in micro behaviors that enhance your emotional quotient.
You also get a free passcode to the popular Emotional Intelligence Appraisal test to know where your EI stands now.
So, that’s all you need to know about emotional intelligence to transform how your business brands itself in the market, communicates with clients, and deals with third-party vendors!
It’s time to put things into practice!
And if you still are keen to learn more, you can read the suggested books to enhance the theoretical and practical knowledge of EI and EQ. Also, you can try out the mentioned EI tools to enhance the emotional quotient of your business.