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.