Can you define empathy?
Up until recently, I couldn't either. Here's what the dictionary says:
The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Now, that's what I always thought sympathy was. Here's what the dictionary says about sympathy:
Feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else's misfortune.
Most of my life, I had these two backward! I would hear traditional sales advice that said: you have to have empathy - and I would take that to mean I had to feel sorry for my customers if they were in a bad situation.
What if they weren't in a bad situation though? What if everything was fine for them?
That's where empathy comes into play. I guarantee empathy will help you close more deals than sympathy. Have you ever wondered what emotions add up to a positive buying decision?
Here they are:
This product will make me a better person.
This product will make my life easier.
This product must be the right one for me because my salesperson gets me.
If your answer was the pain/pleasure equation then you're half right. The piece you're missing is empathy. The customer needs to be convinced that your product is the right fit because you understand them and you wouldn't recommend something that is wrong - because you understand their unique point of view.
How do you understand their unique point of view? ASK!
OK you do need to do more than just ask, but I'll give you a framework right now that will help you do so.
As a salesperson, I'm sure you've been told over and over that you need to ask open-ended questions. And that's true. The thing you probably haven't been told is that there is an optimal format, an order, that will help you build understanding and thus empathy with your customer.
Following this super simple framework will slip you into your customer's inner circle of trust without them even realizing it. And it will help you bring them to a decision. Yes or no.
The framework is very easy to remember: What? Why? How?
What is the issue?
Why is it that way?
How does that affect you?
All you need to do is start off each question with one of those words in order and you will begin to peel the onion of your customer's perceptions, thoughts, and feelings. And even if you disagree, you'll be in the empathy zone. You don't need to agree with someone in order to understand them, but you can't influence them unless they believe you get them.
If you can create the feeling that you completely understand your customer or prospect, it will amplify your efforts ten-fold. If you're not helping them see that you get them then you're not a salesperson. You're an order taker.
Listen. This is an unpopular opinion right now, which is what makes it true, but that's beside the point: the economic crash is coming. There will be a bloodbath in the US markets and it will happen in the next six to twelve months.
Cashiers, order takers, clerks, weak-sucks, and shitty salespeople will all be out on their asses looking for jobs because the bloated organizations they work for will only have room on their teams for true value creators like you and me.
If you are not creating value, if you are not getting better at your game every single day, if you are not fostering empathy, you will need to find a new career in the next 12 months. I guarantee it.
Closing deals is easy when you know the code. I've decoded it for you and put it into a 6-step framework that works for any objection, in any industry.
And no, don't worry - you won't have to 10X anything, or turn into Brandon the Bro-Closer in order for it to work.