Traditionally, emotional intelligence is discussed in terms of leadership – leading with empathy, authenticity, understanding the needs of your direct reports. However, I believe emotional intelligence should be employed when building client relationships in an effort to engender long-term connections and stronger ties associated with our client’s needs.
In the words of Jay Abraham, “You must fall in love with your clients.” While it is a figurative statement, my interpretation of this quote is to empathize with my client’s stress – to deeply understand the gravity for which they are feeling angst surrounding their problem. When employing emotional intelligence in client relations, I put myself in their shoes – to feel what they are feeling in an effort to provide a solution.
Connecting with our clients is the fundamental step in understanding their stress. Our clients want to be heard. It’s our position to ask questions, foster an environment that is free of judgment, actively listen to the problem at hand, and think first and foremost about our client’s feelings.
When a client comes to us with a problem, it is generally due to a pain point. The pain point does not equate to physical pain, such as breaking a bone, it is emotional pain that carries a certain level of discontent and discouragement for the client that must be understood.
Client pain points can manifest in many forms, from failing to articulate their voice in their industry, to failing to understand how to code to utilize specific software necessary for their business. This is real pain for the client with real consequences. If not addressed appropriately, this pain can lead to feelings of fear, bewilderment, frustration, and anxiety, leaving the client distressed. Employing emotional intelligence to connect with our clients forces us to slow down. It demands that we take care of our clients to understand how this pain point is affecting them on a rudimentary level.
Employing Emotional Intelligence
The capacities of emotional intelligence include emotional self-awareness, emotional self-control, empathy, and influence or relationship management. All of these capacities relate to how we connect with our clients, and how we build relationships that start with authenticity and honesty.
Loving our clients means genuinely caring about their needs in an effort to improve their life by solving their problem with our expertise. Creating genuine relationships builds trust that further leads to our client feeling loved. Through focused investigation, targeted communication, and genuine conversation we learn about their pain points and their stress. Authenticity, warmth, and engagement lead us to a treasure trove of information that we may not have otherwise experienced.
When we love our clients, we earn their trust, which gains their support, and allows us into their world to help them solve their problem. When we love our clients, we’re able to offer them different perspectives that provide objectivity and new ideas to the landscape in which their pain surmounted. Our client feels cared for and knows their business needs will be met based on the connection we’ve made with them.
Caring for our clients serves as a lifeline. As experts in our specific fields, it is our responsibility to appreciate our client’s stress, and lead with compassion and empathy to understand the totality for which they are suffering. Understanding their feelings of being overwhelmed, intimidated, and despondent allows us to determine the proper direction in which to help them and alleviate their stress that is contributing to the pain factor within their business.
How do you solve your client’s pain?