Talk Less Than the Buyer or Risk Losing Them
Salespeople tend to have a bad reputation, often being perceived as dishonest and aggressive. They are known for talking instead of listening and viewing their customers as potential deals instead of human beings. Considering that the way customers perceive sales reps influences their purchase decisions, salespeople must work to rid themselves of these labels and strengthen trust.
Having empathy means being able to fully understand another person’s thoughts, feelings, and motivations. The first step to building empathy is to learn how to listen; you cannot put yourself in someone’s shoes (let alone sell them a solution to their problem) when you have not understood them.
The problem is that, more often than not, salespeople talk more than they listen. Rob King, Founder and CEO of The Client Key, discussed the importance of listening more than you talk in an article titled ‘Stop ‘Selling’ and Start Being Human’.
“First and foremost, you are simply trying to understand the other person or company. Not trying to sell them something – that can come (fairly naturally) later. Once you’ve understood a little more about that person, you can begin to understand their needs and work out whether they align with yours,” Rob wrote.
Asking thoughtful questions that allow your customers to expand on their problems shows them that you are genuinely interested in understanding them. Refrain from talking about (or selling) your solution until the problem has been thoroughly talked through.
GENUINE CARE AS A SUPERPOWER
I recently had the opportunity to interview the Founder of #samsales Consulting, Samantha McKenna. As the leader of an all-women team, Samantha was the perfect person to give some advice for women starting out in what is a predominantly male-dominated field. Her answer, which focuses on the value of empathy, surprised me.
“Punch the gas and don’t be afraid to come into this space. Women are historically much better at sales than men because there are so many attributes that we bring like empathy, active listening, and the genuine care that we put into our clients which are our superpowers. So, capitalise on those things and know that you can do an incredible job in sales. Even if you are a minority,” she said.
Therefore, while sales teams everywhere are looking at how they can adopt new technologies, you can stand out by focusing on what makes us human. At the end of the day, nothing beats human connection, especially in a world where video calls have replaced in-person meetings.