Empathy in Sales

By Milestone|3 April 7, 2018

A while ago, I wrote about the ‘magic of the number 3‘ in business. I’d like to express more on this magical number, and how it can help us have a better relationship with our clients.

Many experienced sales professionals understand the importance of asking questions and the power of follow-up questions. Moreover, experienced sales professionals will know that preparing their questions they’d like to ask their clients, before the meeting occurs, is preparation well worth the effort. With the vast amount of questions we could ask, and the limited amount of time we would have in a meeting, I’d like to share with you a structure of dialogue which would help us better relate with clients… And you may have guessed – it has 3 steps

#1 Vision

Talk to the client about their future vision, what they aspire of where they desire to change for their business. If we’re speaking with a client who has the ability to influence their organization’s future – such thoughts would be abundant, along with a strong intention behind them. These people will know where they want to be, they’d just like to get some ideas on how to do so. “What would a successful future look, feel like?”… “How would others describe your company’s success in years from now, and what attributed to that success?”

#2 Impact

“Why is that vision important?”… “How would this benefit the organization?” By discussing the impact of their vision, we would have a better understanding of what the client values, what matters the most to the client, and what kind of strategies we could align with the client on. Equally as important, if we had an offering that could align with the client’s vision; we would know how much the client would value it. Sometimes, the vision which the client is seeking has a valuable impact on the client as an individual… and that would increase the desire for that individual to make the vision into reality.

#3 Pleasure

Years ago, when I started in sales, our manager often instructed us to search for the “Pain” in a client’s situation. Once that was discovered, we would offer a remedy to it – and that was called Solution Selling. While humans continually evolve and modernize, one thing does remain the same; our brains work to protect ourselves by acknowledging the pain and tries to disassociate with it. Rather, our brain seeks where we may find safety and pleasure and focuses our attention towards there. Our innate human nature is to take action to relieve of pain and take action which will return us pleasure. And when taking action towards a future, one would naturally take action which would yield future pleasure.

When the client speaks of their future vision; relating to the pleasure of the changed state would be more comforting to all parties. It would also describe the future as more appealing. “What would this future vision bring to you/the organization?”… “Describe how you would feel in this changed situation?”… “What kind of opportunities could be uncovered?”

Now, you might be asking – “What if the client sees future pleasure as no change, and remaining with the status quo? How could you progress a dialogue with the client in this situation?”

Most people often reject the change (in general), or new ideas because they think of the Pain if they ‘Do‘ take action; along with the Pleasure if they ‘Don’t‘ take action.

If we can have a conversation with others that switches the focus to be on the Pain if they ‘Don’t‘ take action and the Pleasure if they ‘Do‘ make a change; the inspiration increases towards taking action.

I’m not going to coin this structure with an acronym and call it “V.I.P.” or something corny. Yet, I hope you can use this structure to have a progressive dialogue with your clients on:

  • What they aspire…
  • Why they’d desire that…
  • What would inspire them towards action