Once More, With Feeling.
In discussions with several sellers over the past weeks, I’ve ended up talking with them about the very real strategic value of empathy — of crossing the line and working in the customer’s best interests. Seemed like the time to re-post these words from June 2010.
During the strategic media sales workshops I often conduct, we always start with a core foundational principle: Aristotle’s model of persuasion. To completely over-simplify the idea, Ari believed that three qualities had to be present — and flow in a specific sequence — in order for one human being to persuade another of anything important. They are Ethos (the sense of empathy and understanding), Pathos (the sense of shared struggle or collaborative journey) and Logos (supporting logic or facts). Get them out of sequence — say, start with the numbers or logic — and you fail to persuade. Good stuff, yeah?
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Today I want to spend a minute on the first quality of persuasion: empathy. It’s occurred to me as we’ve explored this concept over years of workshops that many sales people see it as a tactic. How can I demonstrate just enough empathy to get them on my side? To get them to open up to being persuaded? When I sensed question in the air during a recent group session, the answer just seemed jump out all by itself:
Don’t struggle to demonstrate empathy: Actually empathize. The easiest way to look like you care is to actually care.
How many of us when we go into a sales situation can honestly say we’re really out to improve the customer’s business? That we’re out to do right by them? How often do we set out to truly make a difference? By my count, only the really great ones do this. And many more of us need to. So the sales message of today’s Drift post is a pretty simple one:
Stop worrying about making the plan. Obsess instead about making a difference. Because if you make a difference, you’ll not only make the plan… you’ll be the plan.