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.

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In Sales, Nice Guys Finish First

No doubt you’ve heard the expression “nice guys finish last”. I don’t know who actually said it but I’m pretty sure they weren’t talking about sales because in sales “nice guys finish first.”

Baloney Bumble

-your supposed to check over there...-Last weekend I ordered a sandwich at a small store near my house. After I ordered at the “Order Here” window I went to the cash register, paid for it and stepped back to wait.  A few minutes later a lady came in, ordered a sandwich, paid and joined me in the “sandwich waiting area.”

After about 5 minutes, they called her name, she went to the register, retrieved her sandwich and left. Since I had ordered first, I went to the register to check on my sandwich. The lady behind the counter pointed at the “order here” window and said “you’re supposed to go over there to find out when it will be ready.” She let out a heavy sigh, turned around and asked about my sandwich. The girl behind her said “It’s almost done.”

The experience didn’t make me feel good and I probably won’t go back.

You Need Customers More than They Need You

Why would you talk to a customer like that? I assume she was frustrated I wasn’t following store protocol for a “sandwich status check.” Apparently, she felt the best thing to do was scold me so next time I would follow the rules. What she failed to realize is there may not be a next time. I have choices. I can easily get a sandwich at a dozen other stores where I don’t get scolded and they are happy to have my business.

Remember, you need your customers more than they need you. The experience your customer has with you and your company will often dictate whether they buy from you or not. If you’ve ever gone to a store to purchase an item and left to buy it somewhere else because the sales person was…

  • …rude,
  • inattentive,
  • didn’t seem to know what they were doing or
  • all of the above…

…you know what I mean.

Be The Customer

Why should treating customers well be such a challenge? After-all, you’ve been a customer before. True, but sometimes you forget what it’s like once you’re on the other side of the counter.  It can be frustrating when things don’t go they way they’re supposed to,  you’re asked the same questions and customers misunderstand things.  However, you still need to treat your customers with patience and respect. They are vital to your survival. They are the entire reason your company exists, and without them, you’re out of work!

be a better salespersonWhen you feel yourself getting frustrated  or losing your customer focus try this simple exercise.  Go to a store, call the number on an infomercial or take a walk through a used car lot and pretend to be a customer. Since you’re just pretending, focus your attention on the salesperson and what they do:

  • What do they do that makes you feel good or bad?
  • What do they do that makes you feel smart (or not so smart)?
  • What do they do that makes you feel like buying?

Afterward, review your interaction and think about what it felt like to be the customer.  Whether it was a positive interaction or not, it will be a valuable experience you can use to be a better salesperson. Now, incorporate the good things you experienced into your customer interactions and remove or avoid anything that didn’t support a positive experience.

In Sales, Nice Guys Finish First

Fortunately for you, the world is filled with mediocre salespeople so it’s easy to standout and rise above the competition.  Treat your customer with respect, be nice, be friendly, have patience and adopt a sincere desire to help them. Customers will take notice, and as a result, sales will follow. In sales “the nice guy (or gal) does finish first!”

 

 

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!**