DEVELOP EMPATHY WITH THE PROSPECT
Develop empathy and put yourself in the prospect’s shoes
Whenever the salesperson puts themselves in their prospect’s or client’s shoes, they should try to put forward a proposition that they themselves would like to be treated. How often has this sales tip been quoted to the seller over the years, yet, even after all of these years it is still, more often than not, taken for granted. And because of this, it is rarely practised well.
If the salesperson is to practice true empathy, they will need to exhibit the fact that they are prepared to seriously focus on their prospect’s or client’s needs – and not their own – which in today’s sales environment needs more than just fleeting concentration – it needs REAL and honest practice of EMPATHY.
The best way I know to describe Empathy I wrote in my first closing book “Over 50 Ways of Closing the Sale” (Volume 1 of the 50 Ways Closing Series, first published in 1993) titled EMPATHY OR SYMPATHY.
Here is the extract …
When times are tough and finances strapped, there is always a lot to be said about the subjects of Empathy and Sympathy.
Most of us have heard by now that Empathy is likened to putting yourself into the prospect’s shoes and seeing the problem from their point of view, whereas Sympathy may be best described as seeing the other persons point of view from ones own understanding.
Another school of thought suggests Empathy is supposed to make you feel as they feel, whereas Sympathy is knowing how the other person feels, but not necessarily feeling the same way. However, more recently I heard what I would have to describe as the best explanation of both Empathy and Sympathy.
Say if you were driving down the road on a cold, wet and miserable night, and saw a man fixing a flat tyre by the roadside in the pouring rain, and said to yourself, “What an unfortunate thing to happen to anyone, I really feel sorry for him, Perhaps I can call a mechanic to help him,” that’s called Sympathy. Empathy, on the other hand, is when you get out of the car in the pouring rain and help him replace the puncture.
Sounds hard, doesn’t it? But that’s the reality of Empathy. Empathy is taking the harder way out – the easy way out is Sympathy.
So the next time you have a difficult sale on your hands, why not ‘get out in the pouring rain and help your prospect replace the puncture’. Until you can do that, you are only selling in the Sympathy mode. And no prospect wants you to feel sorry for him – he wants you to help him with GENUINE SOLUTIONS to his problems. That’s the true meaning of Empathy Selling.
In other words, Empathy Selling is “GOING THE EXTRA MILE”, “DOING MORE THAN IS EXPECTED OF YOU”, and “DOING UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD LIKE THEM TO DO UNTO YOU”.
So unless you too can ‘roll up your sleeves’ with your prospect and ‘get your hands dirty’ demonstrating to him how you can solve his problems – don’t bother.
Chances are, you won’t sell effectively until you do. Furthermore, anyone selling in the Sympathy mode, invariably gets sold by the prospect.
The sale is always made, whether sold by the salesperson, or by the prospect …. remember, win or lose – the sale is always made.
Empathy lets you stay in control. In turn, the salesperson comes up with the unexpected, and that is what is appreciated the most by the prospect.
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This Article is by Peter Collins – In a sales career spanning more than 53 years, Peter Collins has focused on helping and bringing out the best in others – whether it involves training or mentoring salespeople, managers, business consulting to SME’s. Since the 1970’s Peter has built a reputation as a Nationally and Internationally Published author, and has 68 business books to his credit, but he is mainly known for one book based on the Audio Tape series of the same name, Over 50 Ways of Closing the Sale. Peter had his first book published in 1969 and now has over 133 books in all, including Business, Marketing, Sales, Free Publicity, Body Language, Music and over 30 Christian books to date. Peters books have sold over 2.5 Million copies over 48 years. In his personal life, Peter has been sought after as an encourager and motivator that has given of his time and talents freely despite his busy schedule. Subsequently, he has assisted churches, pastors, community and charity groups, as well as individuals through his teaching, training, development and on-going mentoring.
© Copyright Peter Collins, Profit Maker Sales, Sydney, Australia, 1994, 2002, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2017, all rights reserved. Peter can be contacted through his website – profitmakersales.com
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