I won’t keep you waiting. The trait is “empathy.” I define it as the ability to feel and understand another person’s situation, and communicate that feeling. Unfortunately, many of us don’t have it.
Here are the most common causes of a lack of empathy:
- Not considering the feelings of the other person;
- Failing to mirror back those feelings to be sure you understand them;
- Failing to demonstrate an understanding of those feelings;
- Not offering to try to work out the issue together; and
- A desire to fix problems, rather than genuinely listening and hearing what is being said
Without demonstrating empathy, you cannot make an emotional connection. Without making an emotional connection, you have significantly lessened the possibility of making a sale.
No less an authority than the late Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, considered empathy to be one of the most important “habits”.
There’s another benefit to being empathetic. Top sales people are considered charismatic. Liz Wendling, an author and sales coach, describes these high performers as “inspirational, passionate, self-confident, insightful, ambitious, visionary and dynamic.” These are all traits that are important factors in the selling process.
Empathetic people makes those around them feel important and valued, in both their business and personal lives.
If you want to improve your empathetic skills, here are some tips:
- Listen instead of speaking;
- Feel what the other person is trying to convey. Really feel it.
- Don’t argue
By focusing more on empathy and less on conveying the features that make your service or product suitable for your prospect, you will likely increase your sales and improve all of your relationships.