Empathy – A Key to Unlocking Improved Sales

When it comes to making the sale, it’s important for the salesperson to be prepared. Knowing the products, the materials, the benefits, the options, the competitors and their options, the list goes on and on. There’s no denying that this kind of knowledge is essential to success, but if you really want to wow the crowd, preparing to make a sale goes further than just being prepared with materials, facts and figures. Being socially and emotionally prepared is just as necessary.

According to Daniel Goleman’s article “3 Ingredients for Sales Success”, “Cognitive neuroscientists tell us there are three kinds of empathy, each grounded in a different system in the brain. All three play a role in sales success.”

The first is cognitive empathy, which is defined as “understanding how the customer thinks about the problem. This means perceiving their mental models of the world.” Having high cognitive empathy goes hand in hand with understanding SOCIAL STYLE. By knowing your audience you can understand many things about them; how they like to receive information, how they process information, what will overwhelm them, how are they comfortable interacting etc. SOCIAL STYLE gives you the proper knowledge and tools for such assessments, for example; if pitching a product to an Analytical Style person it’s important to know how they prefer to receive information. Analytical Style people respond to salespeople who are knowledgeable and thorough. They expect a good salesperson to have a high level of knowledge about their products and services, and to be able to answer all questions, or at least know how to find answers. On the other hand, Expressive Style people often make decisions based on their instincts and feelings. Because of this, they respond to salespeople who are lighthearted and who can display the exciting features of a product or service

The second type of empathy is emotional empathy – “sensing how the other person feels about what you are saying and doing.” This correlates with the competencies of the Behavioral EQ Model; Emotion Perception – the ability to perceive and understand emotions others are expressing.  This skill is imperative to success in the workplace, and really having successful relationships in any aspect of life, but it’s important to have a behavior associated with this sort of awareness. Being aware of how someone else is feeling, but knowing how to appropriately act or acknowledge that feeling, isn’t entirely useful. TRACOM’s Behavioral EQ Model doesn’t just focus on Emotional Intelligence but also Behavioral Intelligence for this very reason.

The third type of empathy that Goleman lists is empathetic concern; “caring about helping the customer.” Others can sense when they are being cared for, and who doesn’t love feeling cared about? We feel good when others have our backs, and in return, we are much likely to have theirs.  This is usually true regardless of the relationship. If we feel like our boss truly cares about us, we will more than likely truly care about him or her, meaning sticking by them even when times get rough and we have to take a slight pay-cut. The same goes in a sales situation, if we have created a caring relationship with a salesperson we are more likely to buy from them again and again, even when a competitor is willing to give us a better deal. Clients are more than likely going to stick to the people who feel care for them and trust.

Learn why empathy is the most important value in a leader.

Learn about Emotional Intelligence here.