Customer Acquisition Strategy Emotional Intelligence Habit Design

Customer Acquisition : Improve your INFLUENCE with EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE.

16th February 2015

Considering the innovation process, this is a subject I have been thinking about for sometime, there are many notions conjured up by the term coined by Daniel Goleman in his seminal book “Emotional Intelligence“, particularly compassion, understanding, and even, love; however, for most of us, EQ is predominantly something that we feel rather than something we are aware of doing. It is subtle and yet we are comfortable when it is being demonstrated and uncomfortable when it needs to be improved. Understanding this is at the heart of customer acquisition.

Nevertheless, there are ways to improve ones empathy without being manipulative, and it’s simple when you use rapid reasoning

The shortest path to develop emotional intelligence, when you’re talking to a potential client or a difficult customer, is to enquire along the lines of:

“Are you feeling A because you need B?”

For example, “are you upset because you want to solve this faster?”

We are all familiar with those cringe-worthy moments in which someone’s lack of self-awareness brings about discord, upset or humiliation, everyone knows “one of those” or “that guy” who fails to acknowledge other people’s feelings. When I think of the worst example, I think of Ricky Gervais’ character from the British version of The Office, David Brent, and his monolithic faux pas. I am sure you can think of your own examples of inadequate emotional intelligence, not to mention the leader of the German Third Reich whose actions lead to World War II and the Holocaust.


Nevertheless, to improve and develop emotional intelligence a simple model can be rapidly applied:


People express a form of delight when they have their needs met and express a form of discontent/hurt/sad when their needs are not met.

The ability to identify how others feel is crucial to both a harmonious and productive professional and personal life, because, for many of us, things may not always be what they seem; however, they are always how they feel.

Helping others, and yourself, identify the state of what you’re feeling and what the causal need is that is being met or being missed will accelerate improving your emotional intelligence in the shortest time.

In America work and school culture encourage us to be goal oriented and competitive at all costs, therefore, reading the other person’s feelings is secondary to the goal. Life in Asia, Africa, and even Europe children are taught to modify their goals according to how other people around feel about it. However, here we are taught to plough on through irrespective of those around us, instead its only reaching the goal that’s important. The process and productivity are more important than the person or people. This approach leaves room for improvement.


The next step is to realize and identify that people are always, and all times, exercising the best strategy they can come up with to have their needs met.

Anytime someone’s behavior is upsetting or unsettling, simply ask yourself – this appears to be the best strategy “Brad” can come up right now to have their need met, how must they be feeling to reach this? What would he be feeling if he’s already having that need met, or, alternatively, not having it met? When this is clear the nature of the upset can be uncovered, what is underlying their behavior, whether it is a people problem or a money problem (I talk more about this distinction in my book).

This is an approach that’s been very effective in the rough and tumble of corporate boardrooms, conferences rooms, and, perhaps, most importantly, living rooms.

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1. Goleman, D., (1995) Emotional Intelligence, New York, NY, England: Bantam Books, Inc.

Remember, this isn’t psychiatric or medical advice, its just my insights.

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  • Reply Lili 7th January 2015 at 05:35

    Great article, Mark! Emotional Intelligence can be developed. You have good points here, that can be worked into people’s lives.

  • Reply Armando Perez 14th January 2015 at 21:50

    Here’s my personal view

    On one hand I agree with how important emotions are in today’s society to make friends, build relationships and be happy in an intimate relationship.

    At the same time though in business, emotions are often irrelevant. It’s not about who feels what but more about the bottom line.

    Which one is right? Both.

    For an emotional person to say to someone, “You don’t know how I feel” is the equivalent of an analytical person to say, “You don’t understand what I think”.

    Society tends to promote that emotional intelligence, social etiquette and being an extrovert is somehow “better”.

    Yet what about the introverts? Most are amazing working on their own, can be very analytical to the point of genius (most geniuses are introverts AND analytical) yet society makes them out to be some weird or boring loner.

    It all depends on context.

    • Reply Markmwhelan 27th January 2015 at 19:49

      Armando, I agree, the bottom line is certainly important. However, being able to recognise the emotional state of the other though can be vital to closing a deal.

      I wrote this with Silicon Valley in mind, because we have such a large number of engineers who are often introverts and I hear frequently how product managers are frustrated by the lack of rapport from them..but you’re right, using emotional intelligence exclusively without reasoning, judgement or analysis is a recipe for disaster. Having the skills to use emotional intelligence when its relevant is key, using it a the right place and the right time.

  • Reply Alex Hepting 27th January 2015 at 20:35

    You are right, that by analytical thinking or as you call it rapid reasoning, you could trace back some emotional intelligence. Interesting which areals are activated by reasoning on reptile brain. To some amount every idea is logically and emotionally linked in memory, so to access memory you either ask yourself what you need and how you feel.

    Defining “knowledge” it is the ability or the need. So there are two diffrent manifestations of knowledge.

    You either ask what you need and how you feel OR you ask what you can and how you feel.

    Notice that each time you ask, you also ask how you feel, so on macro level, you certainly access knowledge from both sides by asking how you feel, as long it is
    not an implication to fulfill some community maxime.

  • Reply Alex Hepting 27th January 2015 at 21:05

    By citing your first lines above remember: “It is subtle and yet we are comfortable when it is being demonstrated and uncomfortable when it needs to be improved.”

    The advantage of emotional intelligence is based on personal comfort and setting. I guess environment is part of this setting, as you evolve a certain comfort, you can transcend this setting, so to be in love is not a cultivation, but your personal affa

  • Reply Alex Hepting 27th January 2015 at 21:07

    It is subtle and yet we are comfortable when it is being demonstrated and uncomfortable when it needs to be improved. – You say that and i guess the advance is based on personal comfort so to evolve, you need to look closer on the setting of environmental parameters, which give you the most comfort, so you can transcend emotional intelligence to love, to be independent on its setting.

  • Reply Alex Hepting 27th January 2015 at 21:40

    There are diffrent types of learners:

    The first type is: learning emotional intelligence by comfort and asking introspectively how other person would feel in the described concept.
    Second type us: learning emotional intelligence brute force by feeling uncomfortable but denote how you feel in that setting and decision. Additionally don’t mind how other person would feel, but annotate what happened as you said something and how this petson has reacted to your decision.

  • Reply Marie Benzo 27th January 2015 at 22:03

    Very well written. Spot on!

  • Reply Alex Hepting 27th January 2015 at 22:06

    Trying to explain what i mean with transcend. Transcendence is a concept of bliss. To transcend emotional intelligence you have to master both sides: to feel comfortable and to feel uncomfortable. This extends consciousness to that level, where you can decide, to which amount you want to be emotionally intelligent.

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