What does empathy in sales mean? Tips on how you can empathize with your prospects

What does empathy in sales mean? Tips on how you can empathize with your prospects

Empathy is the ability to listen and understand the feelings of another person. This ability can be applied to sales as well. Although schools and educational courses focus on many different methods of how to sell, such as emphasizing on features, advantages, and benefits of a product; selling with empathy is not discussed as often. Many hear about being empathetic, but majority are unsure how to apply it.

The problem is that most of us lack the patience required when it comes to selling. The feeling of winning is an adrenaline rush that we want over and over again, as fast as possible. Selling with empathy will take longer because selling isn’t your main focus. You must listen more attentively and try to understand what the prospect is going through. Instead, salespeople assume that they know the prospect and go right for the pitch. I’ve noticed many CEO’s guilty of this as well. 

Now let’s imagine that you are a SaaS company selling your services to other businesses and you’re doing cold outreach via LinkedIn. You find a company that fits perfectly within your target market, but given the economic situation you know that right now companies are not looking to be sold to. How do you message them? As a starting point, do some research! It’s important to know more about the prospect, company and overall industry. The information that you gather should give you some insights into their fears, concerns and what they value. You can send a short, 2-3 sentence message, empathizing their situation and highlighting some concerns that they may currently have. Once they engage positively, you can now reply with your solution, only if it truly benefits their situation. 

How to message your prospects

The first words in a message are the most important — these are the words that show up in a notification. If you know that the prospect receives many messages with “Hi Steve, I hope you are doing well,” how likely is it that they will read yours if you send a similar message? An example of a message that will receive a lot more engagement is “Hello Steve, I’ve been speaking to different marketing agencies and what they’re telling me is that their clients need to be innovative in how they engage with their customers from a distance.” The second message makes the prospect feel that you understand them and will relate to your message. This will likely result in a positive response.

One thing we notice at FiveRings Marketing is that people often send messages to their prospects that are 3 paragraphs in length describing their services, asking the client if any of the 10 services they have are of interest, or writing generic benefits. Please don’t do this, as no one has time to read a 3 paragraph message or email. It also likely won’t get you results because you haven’t empathized and created that connection with your prospect. Learn how to empathize better and most importantly, never stop empathizing.

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