“Empathy creates an emotional connection, which elevates the sales conversation.”


Each year sales organizations invest thousands of dollars in sales training. They offer such programs as negotiation, lead generation, emotional selling and account management.


There’s good news and bad news when it comes to training. The good news is that the company is investing in its sales team’s professional development.


The bad news is that most of the sales training programs don’t teach an important skill for influencing people: EMPATHY.


emphatic selling skills


Empathy is an emotional intelligence skill, described as the ability to walk a mile in another person’s shoes. It’s the ability to know what another person is feeling or thinking. Without empathy in sales, a salesperson can’t influence others, and people don’t buy from salespeople who don’t understand them.

So what can salespeople do to learn those emphatic selling skill? It’s simple. But as we all know, simple doesn’t mean it’s always simple to do.


Here are two concepts to help you develop emphatic selling skill:


1. Pay attention.


Yep, it’s that simple. Turn off your smartphones and carefully listen your prospect. Many salespeople are losing their ability to connect with others. In their desire to connect, they actually disconnect. Salespeople sometimes are check email or texts, worried about the conversations they are missing. Instead, they often miss the deal happening right in front of them.


Empathetic salespeople are aware that you must be present to win. When you are present and focused, you pick up many nonverbal communication clues, such as a change in tonality, body language or facial expression. Emphatic selling skills can help you to pick up on those clues, and adjusts his or her questions and approach.


Let’s look at a salesperson selling recruiting services. He meets with a manager who lost a key employee who left unexpectedly. The empathetic salesperson notes the stress in the prospect’s face and voice, and acknowledges the situation. “Michel, I’m really sorry to hear about Josh. If I were you, I would be feeling both disappointed and frustrated with the short notice.” This empathetic salesperson is aware that his prospect doesn’t want to answer a bunch of questions or hear advice until he knows that someone feels his pain.


2. Take your shoes off.


emphatic selling skills

The best salespeople step out of their shoes and go into those of their potential client. They think about regular day in the life of their prospects, with the goal of creating a deeper connection.   

Organized stepping into your prospect’s shoes in the pre-call planning. So you need to ask yourself a few questions:   


What time does this person’s day start or end?

How many high-priority plates is this person spinning?

What are his/her underlying fears and worries?

Where is she getting resistance when initiating change?


Incorporate this insight into your sales conversation. “Rachel, I imagine there are days where it gets a little tiring being the change agent. It’s the old two steps forward, one step back. How are you managing that?”


Emphatic selling skills stands for treating your prospects the way you want to be treated. He doesn’t avoid tough subjects or potential objections to doing business. Emphatic sales person knows that concerns are part of the day in the life of his prospects and a natural part of doing business.


For example, you’ve got a great product/service and it can solve your prospect’s problem. However, purchasing your product/service requires internal changes, time, and use of resources. The empathetic salesperson stops trying to sale and focuses on connecting. He steps into the prospect’s shoes and brings up her concerns. “Rachel, there are definitely things my company can do to improve your current situation.   However, if I were in your shoes, I would be worried about the amount of time and resources it’s going to take to make this change. Would this be of value to discuss further?”         


The prospect is relieved: Finally someone gets me! And who do prospects buy from? Clued-in salespeople or clueless salespeople?  


So at your next sales meeting, use and apply your emphatic selling skills. But don’t forget about the soft skills. Emphatic selling skills creates an emotional connection, which elevates the sales conversation. Pay attention to the nonverbal and verbal communication. Step into your customer’s shoes and see the world from their perspective. It’s a great strategy for building long-lasting relationships and business.