Empathy: Assume Your Customer's Position, Really Understand

Empathy is defined as “the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions: the ability to share someone else’s feelings.” Empathy is a true quality of a caring person. It means that you can forget about your position and put yourself in the position of the customer. By doing this, you will be able to see things that you might not able to spot otherwise, by staying in your own position. It is definitely a quality of the best sales advisors.

This is about being humble: you might not always be right and your customer might have a different point of view that you need to anticipate and listen to. You will be able to see more clearly and anticipate things if you are able to genuinely put yourself in your customer’s position. The more effort you place in being empathic, the easier it will become, and the more capable you will become in bringing new convincing elements into the conversation.

In order to adopt an empathic position during a sales conversation, forget about your sales objectives for a moment. Your willingness to achieve your selling goal might make you forget about the present motivation and state of mind of your customer. While you are making your sales pitch, can you imagine that your customer has decided to not to buy? Immediately ask yourself, for example, are you proposing the correct product?

If your customer seems to appreciate the product, consider if there are still factors that are not right. What are they?

Your customer seems to have a desire for the product, but he still has fears that are keeping him from taking the decision to purchase. What are they?

Ask yourself, as if you were the customer: what are all my concerns about the product?

Manager's Corner

Encourage a culture based on empathy. The key question to ask is:

"If you were the customer, what would you say or how would you feel?"

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