As the sales cycle moves on, larger meetings begin to take place with several different constituencies in the same room — all with different roles, agendas, questions, and concerns. Here’s where the role of empathy takes a huge turn. If you have four or five different people in a meeting, your objective is to get every single person in the room walking away saying “I get it, I love it, and it’s so relevant for me. I can see how this will work for me and for my peers.” Tall order, right?
You can make this happen by doing the empathy homework I mentioned earlier and including everyone in the dialogue of the meeting. Don’t just focus on who you think will sign the dotted line. Make the meeting an inclusive one where you query and get feedback from each person. Ask questions like, “Does that sound realistic?” or “Where are you at with this right now?” From there you can gauge, understand, and react to help them through it.
One of my personal observations is that those with more senior roles tend to be quieter in these meetings. Quite often you’ll see sales teams walk away from meetings, thinking it went very well because no one said they objected to the pitch. But what you might not realize is that an influential person had already made up her mind and just didn’t voice it. By not empathetically exploring and listening, you have missed that chance to address potential concerns. They will open up if you ask questions. Thinking about the entire meeting room is a crucial part of empathy in the middle of the sales cycle.