Empathy in Professional Selling

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“Empathy is the ability to step outside your own bubble and into the bubble of other people.”

–     C. JoyBell C., author

As sales pros, we’re paid to get the best deal for our employer.  As owners, we’re incentivized to get the best deal, the best return on our equity or capital.  Negotiating skills training has often focused on how to get what we want at the expense of what the buyer wants.

That.  Doesn’t.  Work.

Buyers have too many choices these days.  It’s like TV networks when I was growing up.  We had three choices, plus public TV.  Today, there are channels about channels about topics on channels.  Buyers have similarly wide options for most of the goods and / or services we sell.

That means table-stakes for us is getting out of our bubbles.  Positioning what we sell in the best possible way for the intended beneficiary of the service.

We might have to give up some margin.  We might have to choose different terms or assume more responsibility for the ultimate outcome.

Or, perhaps we just need to write our story from within their bubble.  Empathy is about seeing through others’ eyes, hearing through others’ ears and feeling with others’ hearts.  In professional selling, it’s about seeing the value we provide in the manner in which they receive it.

We might not have to give up some margin.  We might not have to choose different terms or assume more responsibility for the ultimate outcome.  We might simply need to see the value they way they see it and position it accordingly.


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