When was the last time you put yourself in your customers’ shoes?

David Priemer says that the ability to show empathy and understand your prospects’ point of view is critical to building a connection and establishing trust.  In fact, empathy represents a crucial component of sales that most people neglect to consider. In his recent book, “Sell the Way You Buy,” Priemer explores how empathy can contribute to a stronger understanding of the consumer decision-making process.

So how do you actually be more empathetic?


Don’t use sales tactics that wouldn’t work on you

In our media-driven world, we come across marketing and sales tactics every single day. Whether it’s receiving an email from a retailer, watching a commercial for a new movie, or seeing an advertisement as you scroll through social media. Do you ever consider why certain marketing approaches are successful in grabbing your attention? Or perhaps more importantly, why certain approaches fail to capture your attention?

As a salesperson, it’s important to take time to stop and consider which sales approaches work on you. Consider a time when you encountered effective marketing techniques that have sparked your interest in a product or service. These successful outreaches invoked your curiosity and excitement and perhaps compelled you to conduct additional research. What did this company use to capture your attention? Did it feel like a “sales tactic” or did it make you feel something? 

On the other hand, you’ve probably come across plenty of ineffective advertisements that have failed to turn your head. If you find yourself using similar tactics as these ineffectual advertisements, then perhaps it’s time to reevaluate your approach. As you walk through each step of the marketing process, consider the following rule of thumb:

If a sales tactic doesn’t excite you, then it won’t excite your consumer.


Sell to the feeling

Think back to the last time you made a purchase. Did you carefully walk through a complex decision-making process? Or did you simply act on your emotions? Odds are, your emotions guided your decision-making. Mostconsumer decisions are based on feelings and emotions. After all, these are the mechanisms that help individuals to make quick decisions. Ironically, in the business world, people assume the consumer decision-making process is different. Priemer considers how sellers can design a marketing plan that centers around consumers’ innate use of feelings in the decision-making process. 

Salespeople are often told to sell “value”… so what exactly is “value?” Usually, when sales reps are told this advice, it means they must sell ROI. But is there more to “value” than just ROI? When consumers make purchases, it’s because they FEEL confident in the solution presented by a salesperson. Feelings are always involved. Therefore, you must sell to the feeling, not just ROI. 

When you empathize with customers and understand how their feelings can impact their decisions, you can architect your sales process to align with the way that consumers actually buy. Priemer suggests looking at how customers actually buy and measuring the time and conversion rate between their purchasing process. This means you must be flexible throughout the entire sales process. As time changes, feelings change too


Delivery, delivery, delivery

Priemer shares a great analogy for what an ROI really is, it’s just a forecast.  Think of a weather forecast. You might think that tomorrow will be a great day to go to the beach with friends, but you can’t guarantee that. You will only know the result after the fact. Once you layout your case as to why tomorrow will be a great day to go to the beach, it all comes down to whether your friends believe you. And that’s where delivery is a gamechanger. 

You can fill your business case with analysis and data, but the way you deliver your case can drastically sway your prospects one way or the other. It is your job to give buyers confidence in your vision for the future. And when you’re selling to this feeling, don’t use tactics that wouldn’t work on you.