My favorite strength to use in selling is empathy. This imaginative concept of being able to relate and understand the thoughts and feelings of a consumer is a powerful tool in sales. Without empathy in sales, a salesperson can’t influence others, and prospects don’t buy from salespeople who don’t understand them. (Stanley, n.d.) After the introduction of you and your consumer, it is best to find a way to make a connection with the consumer. This connection can lead to trust. They develop trust in who you are and what you are doing with something relatable to them. This trust can be built upon with confidence in what you are selling. It can also be built upon with items, situations, or people known in common with the consumer. This commonality among people allows them to sink into a comfort level with you, your presence, and with why they came to you as a consumer.
Using empathy works for me in the appliance business. In my life, I have had many different appliances. While I was not in tune with appliances as I am now, I have the consumer understanding of what they want and need from their appliances. Many times over people come in and their washer is broken. I have had my washer break down before. I understand the need to get a washer with a day or two to compensate for the piles of dirty laundry which is growing each day without a washer. This instant connection makes me want to work harder for the customer to get them a washer as fast as possible. When they hear my story and I share with them my story so they know I know what they are going through; then, the connection is made and we can proceed to solve their issue. Empathy can tie two people together instantly to assist in making a sale.
On the opposite in of the imagination spectrum is my fear of initially meeting with someone. To me, fear is my overactive imagination at play putting myself in situations which are more harmful than reality holds. This is definitely true with my initial introductions to anyone. I am not a small talker. I enjoy listening. So, in the first contact with someone, there is this fear of what will I say? Can I keep the conversation going? How do I relate to this person if I don’t know how to keep a conversation going? Will they relate to me? Will there be some sort of connection to put them at ease? Will we just stand here after introductions and quietly look around with nothing to say? These questions haunt me as a sales person. Every time, it is never as bad as I make it out to be. In some form or fashion we find a way to connect and continue a conversation.
I was on a sales call a few weeks ago. I drive around town looking for new homes being constructed. I stop in to each one and say hey to see when they are in needing appliances. I also check to see where they are planning to get their appliances. One day, while driving around, I saw a house being worked on in the distance. I almost drove on past the turn. However, I built up some quick courage to go visit this house off in the distance. It was a good thing I stopped by to this particular home. The home owner stepped out from underneath the house and had several questions about appliances. They had originally looked at appliances through one of the big box stores. Since I stopped by, they have been going to me to get answers about appliances. Through that relationship development of being someone they could trust with the answers, they have committed to using me for their appliance needs.
So, I challenge you to step out of any fear and realize people need what you have. Put yourself in their shoes and you will see how empathy will get you the sell.
I would love to hear your stories below! Please leave a comment.