Empathy Is a Critical Tool in Our Sales Tool Box

In today’s Musings on Marketing and Magic I talk about empathy as a critical tool in our toolbox as part of the sales process. We’ve probably all had the experience of dealing with a pushy sales person – the classic “used car dealer” image comes to mind. And it doesn’t have to be as overt as that to create a sense of discomfort in the potential client, a feeling that there’s a lack of connection.

But it’s not just annoying to have to deal with a sales person that we don’t resonate with, this kind of encounter can really color our experience with a brand and we might even go so far and take our business someplace else because of it.

The Buying Process has changed

Over the last two decades, buyers have increasingly become more sophisticated. Most people in the market will start with some research online or within their network to get information about their options. They will usually acquire as much product knowledge as they can before they ever have the first conversation with you and any other provider in your space.

Buyers these days can find lots of facts and figures online and build their own knowledge base. So, when they do contact you, the real conversation then is about determining if they resonate with the values that your company embodies and the personal connection between them and you.

Buying Decisions Are Emotional Decisions

There’s a reason why there are literally thousands of books available about the psychology of selling: buying decisions are ultimately emotional decisions! The good news is, you don’t have to study psychology in order to make an emotional connection with your potential client – you have another tool available to you, which is empathy.

Types of Empathy

There are two types of empathy, one is basically the ability to take someone else’s perspective and identify and understand their emotions. The other type is the aptitude to sense and feel someone else’s emotions.

Bringing more empathy to your interactions with potential clients can simply start by putting yourself in their shoes as you develop your talking points. Another powerful tool is to have your sales conversations with an open mind that isn’t solely focused on making the sale, but actually uses questions as a way to find out what the potential client is currently experiencing and what they envision as their best future outcome. As you collect this information, you are then in a position to either tailor a solution for them or recognize that your offer might not be the right fit for them.

Being Your Authentic Self is Key to Your Success

Authenticity is the key in all of this. If we aren’t fully present within ourselves and with our potential client, we can easily try to push our agenda of making a sale onto them, which then prompts the other person to either push back or react passive aggressively by bringing up one objection after the other. On the other extreme, if we are afraid of being “pushy” we hold back from actually doing our part, which is leading the potential client through the different stages of the sales process.

The more authentic we are, the more we can build a foundation of trust with our potential clients and the more it allows them to make a buying decision that is right for them without feeling manipulated in any way.

Of course, if you are a naturally empathic person, having a sense of what your potential client is going through right now isn’t usually the difficult part; it’s not taking on those emotions that requires real practice of boundaries – a topic that deserves its own post.

Whether it’s easier for you to take someone’s perspective to understand their emotions or whether you have an aptitude to sense and feel someone else’s emotions, either one is a great starting point to utilize more empathy in your sales process to increase your connection with your potential clients, so that they can invest in your services without hesitation.

How do you incorporate empathy into your sales conversations?

Until next time – be magical!