There is no single personality type that predicts whether someone will thrive in sales. There is, however, a trait that all highly successful salespeople have: empathy.
Empathy is often overlooked in sales training and it’s not something that is talked about while building the sales process. But if you find that you or your sales team is struggling to reach the next level, then empathy may be the missing link.
Empathy is simply the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Why Is Empathy Critical to Sales Performance?
Let’s take a look at some specific examples of how empathy can boost the sales process.
Feeling seen and heard is one of the foundations of trust. When a customer feels validated, psychologically they have a sense of well-being and safety, which will lead to greater trust.
Leads You to the Right Questions Quickly
As you know, asking the right questions is critical in sales. When you exercise empathy, you gain a better understanding of the customer more and pick up on their cues quickly, which will lead you to ask deeper questions that will reveal more information.
Helps Define the Problem
If you can feel and understand what the customer feels, you will gain a more in-depth insight into the customer’s problem. If you can turn around and articulate the problem back to them by coming from their perspective, they will be able to hear you more clearly.
Helps Define the Solution
If you have a clear, empathetic understanding of the customer’s problem, you are better equipped to develop a solution.
Creates a Bond
When you exercise genuine empathy, a bond is created with the customer, which gives you a unique opportunity. When you have a bond with the customer, you will notice early on if they are drifting away and can take steps to reconnect with them before it’s too late.
If you understand the customer’s needs, you also have a leg up because you will know what steps you need to take to stay connected with them.
Supports Closing the Sale
When you have an accurate gauge on the customer’s emotional state, then you know then it’s time to wait or time to close. This allows the customer the freedom that they need to commit without feeling rushed or pushed.
Unfortunately, empathy is not a skill that can be effectively trained in a quick seminar or through a series of videos. It is a muscle that must be developed with focused attention and practice.
Here are six exercises, that when practiced regularly, will build your empathy muscle and exceed your sales goals.
Even if you have a million things to do, slow down and show that you care about what the customer is saying by listening.
- Be attentive
- Take notes if needed
- Do your best to understand what they are saying
If you can become an excellent listener, then you are halfway there.
2. Just ask
Don’t try to guess. If you want to know something, ask. Ask the customer, “What are your thoughts about this?” or “How are you feeling about what we’ve discussed?”
Even if they are caught off guard, their answer may give you the information you need to keep the conversation moving in the right direction.
Listen to the customer and then accept their point of view. This may feel uncomfortable at first because your job is to convince someone that your point of view is correct.
But after some practice, you will find that accepting the customer’s point of view is key to building trust, getting to know the customer, and continuing the conversation.
You don’t have to agree with them if they believe your product is overpriced or doesn’t provide enough value, but you do need to acknowledge their perspective and use it as a starting point.
4. Respond rather than react
It’s easy to get in a rush and say the first thing that pops into your head, but that thing isn’t always the most empathetic response. Pause to digest what the customer has said or asked.
Consider how your response might be interpreted through the lens of your conversation. Don’t be afraid of the customer losing interest.
If they choose not to work with you because you choose to contemplate the best response rather than react, they probably weren’t going to buy from you anyway.
5. Put yourself in their shoes
This is where true empathy is built. If you can put yourself in someone else’s shoes, even if it’s someone you disagree with, then you are an empathy master!
When you do this, you can see things from their perspective and effectively communicate your message by tailoring it to their position and experience.
Most people get hung up in their own worldview and can’t see someone else’s point of view. If you are one of those people, that’s okay. You just need to practice.
If you can make the mental shift and train yourself to put yourself in the shoes of whoever you are talking to in every conversation, your business relationships will deepen, and your close rates will rise.
6. Decide together
If you come to the conversation with empathy and build trust with the customer, the customer will:
- Actually want your opinion
- Use you as their source of information
- Allow you to help them make a decision
Stick With It to the End
Even if the customer is eager to close the sale, they may not have the final say. They may need your assistance to advocate internally within their company, which may require an even deeper dive into your empathy reserves.
You will also need to make sure that your deal fits in with your customer’s schedule, even if it doesn’t necessarily fit with your own. If you can stay empathetic to the end, your customer will feel relieved and supported rather than pressured and abandoned.
Happy customers keep coming back and they throw referrals your way!
We Are Here to Help
We hope this deep dive into how empathy can boost your sales has been helpful. And remember, we’re here to help you with your premium water dispenser needs whenever you need us!