Empathy (noun) – the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Empathy helps a seller put themselves into their prospect’s shoes, fostering a relationship of mutual understanding and respect for each other’s needs.
Think about it — when do sales occur?
Sales happen when a prospect is facing business challenges and they believe you can solve their problems. This means that there is a connection between your prospect’s challenging situations and you; this is where empathy comes in. Developing empathy with your prospects not only gives you a better understanding of their needs but also offers an inside look into why they believe that these specific needs can be solved by you.
Developing empathy with your prospects
Although empathy is developed as you mature and gain life experience, there are ways that you can work on improving your skills right now. Paying attention to verbal and non-verbal cues given by others is a great start. An example – your friend asks you, “what’s wrong?” the moment they see you because they pick up your signals. As you learn, it becomes easier to pick up on these silent signals.
The good news is that your daily sales activities provide numerous opportunities to practice empathy. Use these suggestions to develop your empathic reasoning and create a lasting relationship with your prospects. This will lead to a mutually beneficially relationship for all involved.
Stop and listen
One of the most important things that you can do is show your prospect that they have your full attention. It’s important to remember that even though you are pursuing them, and you probably have a million great things to say about your product, their needs and pain points are the most important topic of discussion. Listen to what they’re saying stay away from making any assumptions.
Put yourself in their shoes
As the seller, you are focused on closing the deal, hitting your quota, meeting your goals, and that’s fantastic! The question: what is important to your prospect? Attempting to put yourself into your prospect’s shoes can be eye-opening for many reasons. Are they pushing back hard on pricing? Maybe they have a hard price point that they are being pressured to meet? Are they hesitant to accept the benefits of your solution? Perhaps they have tried something similar in the past that failed. Taking the time to put yourself into your prospect’s shoes is a fantastic way to develop your skills and keep your prospects happy.
Ask for feedback
This critical step shows you care about the way you treat your prospects and that you’re spending their time wisely while meeting their needs. This can expose what you didn’t cover that the prospect was hoping to hear. This opens doors to future conversations. It’s also a great way to reflect on your own sales delivery and identify where you can improve.
Too often, salespeople are eager to jump right into business the second the call begins. Although your enthusiasm can be infectious, going down this route skips a critical step in relationship building – getting to know each other. Creating a rapport (or emotional connection) at the beginning of the call helps the conversation flow more naturally while also putting your prospect at ease. This can later provide opportunities to start a conversation not related to the sale if the prospect goes dark in the future.
Empathy is not the typical focus in the sales world, but honing your skills will help you rise above the rest of the pack. Developing and showing more empathy can help improve your numbers, build lasting relationships with your prospects, and make you a stronger salesperson