Here are two concepts to help you develop empathy in sales:
1. Pay attention.
Yep, it’s that simple. Turn off your smartphones and tune into your prospect. Many salespeople are losing their ability to connect with others. In their desire to connect, they actually disconnect. Salespeople constantly check email or texts, worried about the conversations they are missing. Instead, they often miss the conversation happening right in front of them.
Empathetic salespeople know you must be present to win. When you are present and focused, you pick up many nonverbal communication clues from prospects, such as a change in tonality, facial expression, or body language. The empathetic salesperson picks up on those clues, and adjusts his or her questions and approach.
Let’s look at a salesperson selling recruiting services. She meets with a manager who lost a key employee who left unexpectedly. The empathetic salesperson notes the stress in the prospect’s voice and face, and acknowledges the situation. “John, I’m really sorry to hear about Patricia. If I were you, I would be feeling both disappointed and frustrated with the short notice.” This empathetic salesperson knows that her prospect doesn’t want to answer a bunch of questions or hear advice until he knows that someone feels his pain.
2. Take your shoes off.
“Empathy creates an emotional connection, which elevates the sales conversation.”