How Empathy Helps Drive Sales

03 Nov How Empathy Helps Drive Sales

Have you ever seen a Mentalist? Mentalists are performers who use magician’s techniques to make it seem they have extraordinary mental powers. When presented properly, they seem to have a sixth sense that allows them to read people’s minds.

And while salespeople aren’t mentalists, the great ones do have an extra sense – empathy.

They are able to understand the feelings, thoughts, and experience of others. In other words, empathy is not only the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes.

It can almost feel like mindreading.

Empathy is crucial because it allows you to make meaningful connections with others and can help you become a better colleague, manager, partner, and friend.

It’s also extremely marketable. In fact, according to George Anders from Forbes, empathy is the number one job skill we’ll need as we move into 2020.

That’s because:

  • Twenty percent of jobs in the US will feature empathy as their central skill;
  • Empathy helps you to better understand the needs of people around you;
  • It allows you to make better connections with people;
  • It helps resolve conflict more effectively (and avoid it in the first place);
  • It helps you to learn how to motivate the people around you;
  • It helps you better understand how people view your actions;
  • It allows you to read people more easily, and predict how they will act or react;
  • It gives you the ability to learn from other people’s experiences

Sounds great right? But how does it relate to sales?

Most salespeople rely on charisma to deal with clients.

Charisma is valuable and necessary. It can help you land meetings and make quick sales. But it’s not effective in building meaningful and long-lasting relationships with clients.

For that you need empathy.

Being able to truly understand your clients’ needs is essential if you want to build a close relationship with them. Empathy allows you to do that.

And that’s not all. Here are three ways that empathy helps make you a better salesperson:

1. It Helps Build Trust

As a salesperson you know that trust is essential to building lasting relationships with clients and prospects. Being genuinely empathetic with a client will show them that you care about them and their business, creating a bond of loyalty, respect and trust.

2. It Allows You to Understand Your Client’s Needs

As a provider of useful products and services, you can help your clients by finding solutions to their challenges. By putting yourself in their shoes you’ll be able to better understand what their problems are. From that place of understanding, you can offer your product or service as a solution with integrity.

Genuine empathy makes you want to actually take the time to listen to prospects and clients and understand their problems before offering a solution. This gives you credibility, which in turn will set you apart from the competition…

3. It Sets You Apart from the Competition

Your prospect has most likely met with dozens of other salespeople who are just as charismatic as you are. Being empathetic will help you stand out from that pack, getting you closer to sealing the deal.

Do your best to understand the prospect’s problem and create a real connection with them. The prospect will appreciate it and see the value of working with you.

So, You Want to Be a Mindreader, Eh?

Like mentalism, empathy is a skill that you can build. If you’d like to learn more about how to increase your empathy (and 4 other crucial soft skills for sales), download my “5 Transformative Soft Skills for Sales Professionals” PDF. It’s a free resource that’s full of practical tips and tools to boost your soft skills and make better connections with your prospects and clients. Enjoy!

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4 Comments
  • Stewart
    Posted at 11:56h, 05 March Reply

    Thanks Dan. This is a great post. However, like anything, important to remember it’s not JUST about empathy. Without resolution of customer needs in a timely and “effort- appropriate way”, empathy is actually been shown to be a detractor for cx- bluntly, great you empathise but resolution of issue or opp is more important!

    Check out: https://blog.emolytics.com/biz/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/WHEIGHT-OF-6-PILARS-KPMG-1.jpg

    • Dan
      Posted at 11:00h, 08 March Reply

      I’m with you there Stewart. Empathy is just one piece of the puzzle. But it’s one that helps lead to a good resolution for all. Without empathy, it’s nearly impossible to solve someone’s problem. Sure, I can sell without empathy, but I doubt that it would lead to customer satisfaction. I love the exploration of all these factors!

  • Jim Carty
    Posted at 10:04h, 06 March Reply

    Great message Dan. Powerful way to reinforce just how valuable simply “connecting” with others can be.

    • Dan
      Posted at 10:56h, 08 March Reply

      Thanks Jim! I’m glad this was a useful reminder for you. I find that the more I listen (and less I talk), the better off I am.

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