Sales and Empathy - Not Oil and Water
As a natural introvert with a non-combative streak, sales may seem out of my wheelhouse. Yet, my personality and unique set of experiences gives me an edge on sales - because I don’t think of sales as a contact sport. I’m not taking people out at the knees, and there’s no scorched earth here. Effective salespeople are quiet, yet charismatic, definitely more tortoises than hares. They know their business better than anyone else at the company, and are some of the most creative people at an agency. They envision futures with clients, and get the privilege of learning about the avant garde of business. While that’s a lot to focus on, here are five tips on how to sell with empathy: I use these techniques every day, and am happier with myself for it, and our clients become our friends because of them.
1. Listen. People like that.
Don’t start with the barrage of your pitch. A good salesperson adapts to whatever the client wants, in business and in life - listen to them first, read their personalities, and empathize. Share your own anecdotes when appropriate. Be a friend.
2. Don’t sell, build relationships.
On that above note, a sale is a committed relationship. Any sale is a chance to demonstrate your work and bring more value to the client. Make sure the quality of your result represents you, and make sure you build opportunities for future collaboration.
3. Be as transparent as you need to be.
Your client is being open with you about their needs and their business. Part of empathy is the same for you. Show them around your office, tell them about the team. Tell them about what’s on your mind for your agency. Your agency is a partner, not an opaque, bureaucratic savior.
4. Be strategic, not sneaky.
Strategy still counts. You cannot afford to give away your entire bottom line, and you cannot afford to shirk any semblance of strategy. Don’t fake your empathy, but realize the realities of your business and where you fit into relations with your client and your agency: you are a middleman and a mediator. Just… Don’t be sneaky.
5. Be genuinely confident in your value.
One pitch does not fit all: Imagine what unique, tailored projects you can do for your client. As a salesperson, you have to be creative, too: creative about what your agency can do for your client. No amount of feigned enthusiasm looks genuine - Get pumped! Genuine enthusiasm and creativity leads clients to take on projects they didn’t even realize they wanted to.