Empathy Improves Sales

Sometimes salespeople get a bad rap. It’s a little too easy to imagine Jordan Belfort on the main floor of Stratton Oakmont yelling to money-grubbing cold callers, “Pick up the phone and start dialing!” Those tactics, and their subsequent failure, leave a lot to be desired.

We’ve all had pushy salespeople, whether getting a new car or buying software. It just doesn’t feel good. That’s not how ReadyTalk Sales works.

For companies interested in outstanding customer service, meaningful relationships, and sustainable practices, there are better strategies. Empathizing with potential clients and establishing connections with them is not only more ethical, it provides better results. Those better results are all about making prospects — potential customers — happy, while selling great products.

Salespeople are partners

Don’t take the approach of being a salesperson, take the approach of a consultant, someone who genuinely cares what the client is trying to achieve. An effective sale starts by building trust with the customer. If you can build rapport and ask the right questions, and the client can share information with you, you can better provide the right solution. Everyone walks away happy.

Listen, understand and ask the right questions

Imagine you have a client that has asked for advice. You know the best solution for them, the one that will save them the most money and allow them to get the best value. But they’re too worried about the up front sticker price, and would prefer a less committed option — even if it might end up more expensive. You could cut your losses and walk away.

Or you could ask some questions. Find out why they’re uncomfortable, and work to build a rapport so the client can trust you. You might notice a solution that didn’t exist before, because you didn’t have the relationship it needed to be built upon. Sometimes a small change in a solution can go a long way in converting a maybe to definitely, and that customization let’s the buyer know they’re in good hands.

You get a sale, the buyer gets what they need. Listening, understanding, and putting in the effort to make it work: that’s what being a salesperson is all about.Customer marketing

Listen and work to implement good ideas

On some occasions you’ll get the opportunity to find out more about a client’s personal life. You’re not the best of friends, but you keep up with the important aspects, and enjoy the fact that your relationship is more than purely transactional. These are the perfect candidates to offer feedback about new products. They already provide good business, they might provide more if they like the product, and they’re comfortable enough to tell you the truth.

In some cases the feedback will prove useful, and if you’re lucky enough to work with a responsive product team, you may be able to push the client a prototype that addresses their “must-haves.”

Not only is it valuable information, but the “improved” product increases the chances to expand a potential revenue stream, and reinforces the idea that you care about the client’s business.

Understand sometimes the prospect should use another solution

Clients are going to leave. It’s a sad fact we all must face. But a departure doesn’t necessarily mean a failure, especially if done tactfully.

Your organization’s product won’t always be the right solution for the customer. When you see that, be upfront about it. It’s unethical to trap someone into a contract if you know it won’t work, but more than that, it burns all bridges to later business.

Your organization might develop a solution that does solve that customer’s needs, but the customer won’t work with you if you’ve deceived them in the past. The proactive approach will let you sleep better at night and help you convert a lead to a sale down the road.

What goes around comes around

It’s all about listening and understanding. You can’t change people’s needs, you can only do your best to ask questions and understand exactly what they need. To be a great salesperson, it’s about empathy — to think less about the “win” and more about what’s right for your prospect and customer.

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Arthur Boyle

Arthur is a marketing intern at ReadyTalk, working mostly on content creation. He likes books, nature, humans and sometimes all three.

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