6 Amazing Ways to Improve Empathy

Improve Empathy

Your natural ability to empathize is one of the most important assets you have when it comes to connecting with your customer and as a refined skill, it’s key to your success in sales!

On today’s show discover:

  • … that the ability to empathise is natural but the skill to do it well takes practice;
  • … how communicating sincere empathy can positively impact your sales;
  • … 6 ways to enhance and improve your natural ability to empathize.

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Empathy vs Sympathy

Empathy vs Sympathy

There’s a big difference between empathy and sympathy. Knowing how to communicate empathy in sales will strengthen your rapport and help you connect with your customer.

Two Minute Training Series

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The Secret to Mastering the Art of Conversation

The Art of Conversation Has Nothing to do with Speaking

In sales we often hear about the “ART of Conversation” but did you know mastering it has nothing to do with speaking?

On today’s show you’ll discover:

  • The secret to mastering the “Art of Conversation” and how to…
  • …make a stronger connection with customers;
  • …gain valuable insight into their needs and wants;
  • …and develop the trust they need in you to make the sale.

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A Most Interesting Conversationalist

Chances are you’ve heard of Dale Carnegie. Among other things, he was the author of the best selling book  “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.

In the book, he  tells a story about a dinner party he once attended. At the party, he sat near a botanist. Dale Carnegie was always interested in plants so he began a conversation. He was fascinated and listened intently as the botanist talked about indoor gardens and even shared interesting facts about potatoes.

The botanist talked for hours and Mr. Carnegie listened. When the party was over, the botanist thanked the host and paid Mr. Carnegie a compliment saying he was a “most interesting conversationalist.” (An interesting compliment considering Dale Carnegie simply listened to the botanist).

The ART of Conversation

The story shows how important it is for people to be heard. To master the art of conversation means mastering the art of listening. Top salespeople are great listeners but they also have a secret. They know people want to be heard but they also know people want to be understood.

The big secret? Empathic Listening. It’s simple, It’s just combining empathy with Active Listening.

Empathy and Active Listening

As you know, empathy is the ability to understand how someone else is feeling, to walk a mile in their shoes. When you can communicate empathically with your customer, you strengthen your rapport and make a strong connection.

Active listening is simply repeating back what your customer said  in your own words.  Active listening helps you clarify information and let’s your customer know you’re listening.

Empathic Listening is a skill that takes time to develop but, if you really listen, work to understand how the other person is feeling, and practice, you’ll make stronger connections with your customers and more sales!

Today’s One Two Punch:

Use empathy and active listening to make stronger connections and more sales!

A Funny Episode of Everybody Loves Raymond – Active Listening!

These are great clips from Everybody Loves Raymond demonstrating how empathic listening works as an effective method of communication.

Part 1

Part 2

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Selling The Dream

It’s Priceless

Successful salespeople know that selling a product is really more about selling what the product will do for someone. In order to build real value, it’s important to find out how your product or service can help your customer realize their “dream”.  When you can do that, price is no longer an object because for most people their “dream” is priceless.

You can build immeasurable value in your product by tailoring your presentation to the customer’s needs, wants and hot buttons so that you’re no longer selling just a product, you’re selling the dream!

The Path to the Dream

Before you can sell the dream you need to know what the dream is. There is a logical path you need to follow in order to determine what your customer really wants. What is it that is so important to them that you can’t place a price on it? Selling the dream requires you to know your customer’s hot buttons which you find out by asking

Selling the dream requires you to know your customer’s hot buttons which you find out by asking open-ended questions. For your customer to feel comfortable enough with you to answer these questions you need to establish trust and rapport. You build rapport by being a good active listener, conveying empathy and making a connection.

The Path is Simple

  • Make a Connection -> Convey Empathy and Listen Actively ->
  • to Build Trust and Rapport ->
  • Ask Open Ended Questions – > Uncover Needs and Hot Buttons ->
  • Sell the Dream

Make a Connection

In the post, You Had Me at Hello we reviewed how to make a solid connection with your customers. This connection, in conjunction with your empathy and supportive responses, will set the stage for you to find your customer’s hot buttons and understand what their “dream is”.

Empathic Listening

Empathic listening is active listening combined with empathy.

Empathy is – Understanding how someone feels…or walking a mile in their shoes.

Active Listening is – Making a conscious effort to really hear what your customer is saying. Listening for more than just their words.

Sometimes we confuse empathy and sympathy. Sympathy is when someone feels sorry for you or takes pity on you. (not something that most of us like). Empathy is understanding!

Here’s an example of empathic listening  “So you’re concerned that if you don’t do something about your weight now it may get worse and really impact your health.” In this example, we communicated empathy when we said that they are concerned. That’s their emotion about the situation. It’s how they are feeling. We also showed good active listening skills by paraphrasing back what they said.

Here’s how sympathy would sound. “I am so sorry that you are overweight and unhealthy.”   Not the same…..this sounds like you’re pitying the person. If someone said something like this to you it wouldn’t feel good would it? You wouldn’t feel like this person “gets you” or understands where you are coming from.

Open Ended Questions

Now that you’ve established rapport and made a connection you can engage the customer in conversation and use open-ended questions to uncover their needs and hot buttons. Before we talk about which questions we want to ask we should take a closer look at the difference between “NEEDS” and “HOT BUTTONS”

Needs are – The symptom that has resulted from the health concern the customer has. Most customers will live with their symptoms and some will even choose to live with them instead of spending money to resolve them.

  • A Headache is a symptom
  • Knee pain is a symptom
  • Trouble sleeping is a symptom

Hot Buttons – These are the “EMOTIONAL” reasons the customer wants to resolve their health problem. Most customers would pay ANY AMOUNT to realize their hot button. When asked they would say, to them, their hot button is priceless!

  • Spending quality time with your grand-kids
  • Having your independence back
  • Being able to dance with your wife again

As you might imagine, when you can show the customer how your product helps them achieve their hot-button the price becomes an insignificant factor. After all, they would pay anything!

When all you can do is show them how the product can help with their symptom many will just “live with it: instead of spending the money.

So what’s the plan?

Work HARD to get your customer’s hot button so you can help them see how the product will get them what they want.

**Stop Selling the Product and Start Selling the Dream!**

The Secret to Success Top Salespeople Don’t Want You To Know

Natural Born Salespeople

I’m sure you’ve met this person before. She seems to be able to sell anything to anybody. Everyone loves her and is awed by her “amazing sales ability”. You hear other’s whisper how she is a “natural born salesperson”.

She doesn’t confirm or deny it but it does seem to be mysterious. So what’s her big secret? You might think it’s product knowledge and she’s comfortable with the product, but that’s not it. It’s a secret she and other top salespeople don’t want you to know.

The Big Secret

It’s empathy. That’s right, simple empathy. Why is this such a big secret? Partly because only the top tier seem to really grasp the power empathy has to make a connection with the customer.

In general, we all like to be heard and we like it when somebody “gets us”. It’s true for you, it’s true for your customers. Just as active listening skills help your customer feel they are being heard, empathy will help your customer feel that you “get them”.

Empathy is the ability to understand how someone else might be feeling. When you can communicate empathically with your customer you strengthen your rapport and connection.

People like to be understood. When you add active listening, you’re not only ensuring that you understand, you’re communicating to your customer that they are important. You hear what they are saying and understand how they are feeling.

Sometimes people confuse sympathy and empathy. We know this because we hear a lot of people use the phrase “I’m sorry” when they want to convey Empathy. “I’m sorry” is a sympathy phrase…it means “I feel bad for you.” Think about a Sympathy Card…. “I’m sorry for your loss” doesn’t communicate that I’m trying to understand your loss. It communicates that I feel bad for you because you lost someone close to you.

When someone passes away, sympathy is an appropriate response. However, in general, people don’t want sympathy. They don’t want other people to feel sorry for them or pity them. People want others to understand them and hear what they are saying. That’s what empathy is.


Empathy is walking a mile in your customer’s shoes and imagining how you might feel if you were in their situation. How would you feel if you were unable to walk? What if you were no longer able to see? How would you feel if you had a toothache for 4 days in a row?

Perhaps you would feel, frustrated, sad, angry, depressed, or desperate. Those are just a few of the potential emotions someone might be going through in any of those situations.

When you respond to your customer with something like “so you’ve been in pain for the past four days and your desperate to get some relief” you’re saying (I heard what you told me and I can empathize with you. I understand you’re feeling desperate for relief).

Once they know you “get them” and you’re listening they are far more apt to make a buying decision with you. I’ve actually heard customer’s say “thank goodness, someone who finally understands!”


Empathy is not an easy skill to master. It takes practice but the good news is you can practice with virtually everyone you know. Listen carefully to what they are saying and work to understand how they feel. Then communicate it back to them.Once you’ve mastered it, you’ll find you have stronger relationships and you’ll be one of those “natural born salespeople too”. All because now you know the big secret!

Action: Listen to your customer and communicate how you think they are feeling
Benefit: You’ll help more people and make more sales.