You can know your product inside and out. You can have the gift of gab. You can clock hours and hours in training. All of these will help you be a better salesperson. But there’s one skill that’s so essential, your overall success may ride on it. In fact, it’s not really a skill—it’s an emotional competency.
Empathy is taking the time to walk in your customer’s shoes. It’s a way of meeting them where they are with some understanding of who they are, their personal situation, the challenges or pain points they face, and the things they value.
Now, that can mean one thing if you work in, say, office-equipment sales, and a totally different thing for those of us who work in a more personal field like life insurance. The starting point for our work is already an emotional one charged with worry, fear and even sadness. So, leading with empathy in every customer encounter isn’t just a better way to approach a sale; it’s the caring way to approach another person, one who may be thinking about the reality of their death for the first time.
What’s the best way to make sure you’re approaching every sale with empathy? Before you engage with someone, take a step back and picture where they may be coming from. This isn’t about making judgements, it’s about taking in information that can help you get to know someone.
Asking your customer questions is the next important step:
- What’s their present situation?
- What matters to them?
- What are their concerns?
Being a good listener is essential. This skill doesn’t just allow you to provide your customers with the assurance they need, it helps them feel heard. And that makes them feel valued.
Sometimes, the insights you gain from one customer can help you approach others who may be in similar situations. We may be talking about sales here in this blog, but leading with empathy in all our interactions (be it with family, friends, the person who delivers your mail, or a stranger in the parking lot) is always a helpful way to approach the world around us.
Empathy may be important, but it’s not the only thing driving the success of our sales teams. Check out our other post sharing 5 Sales Secrets.
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