How Do You Make People Care About Your Work—Even When Your Work Is Lofty, Intangible, and Abstract as F***?
May 4, 2017
I’m working with a client, right now, who wants to sell emotional intelligence. That’s the result you get when you work with her. EQ, instead of IQ.
And emotional intelligence is actually really, really important. It’s one of the biggest predictors of success, believe it or not. She’s read the literature. I’ve read the literature. The pope’s read the sweet, sweet literature. So the question then becomes:
How do we make other people care?
The problem, of course, is that to the everyday consumer, asking them if they want some emotional intelligence is like asking them if they’d like some C6H12O6—which means absolutely nothing to anyone, unless you happen to have memorized the molecular formula for glucose, sicko. No one’s clamoring over emotional intelligence because it’s lofty and intangible and the narrative isn’t part of the mainstream yet.
So what do you do, then? How do you sell something no one understands?
Sell ‘em what they want. Give ‘em what they need.
What they may very well need is emotional intelligence, but for now, that’s not going to resonate. No one’s waking up in the middle of the night thinking, “Christ on a stick, I really need to improve that emotional intelligence of mine.”
So what is it that they want, that EQ helps with?
The ability to speak up for themselves at work?
To have a hard conversation with their partner?
To improve their relationship with their child?
To ask for the money without flinching?
The way you market a product is independent of the product itself. Nobody ran up to a cow and thought, “I want to lick the liquid that comes from your udders! Yum!” If the milk industry had tried to sell milk for what it really was, we wouldn’t have a milk industry. Instead, they sold the idea that you’d be healthier for drinking it.
Milk. It does a body good.
And so does emotional intelligence—and anything else you're selling—when you illuminate it from the right angle.