The Empathetic Sales Rep
Some may say empathy and sales go together like Peanut Butter and Jelly. In many cases this is quite true. In fact, an empathetic sales person can develop fast relationships with your clients. However, my daughter is allergic to peanut butter and it could kill her, just like too much empathy could kill your sale.
Sales people with empathy are able to relate to their customers and understand how they are feeling. In addition, people may even be more likely to open up to an empathetic person. This could make it easier to gain the “know, like and trust” to close the sale naturally, without coming across like a slimy salesperson.
Overly empathetic sales person
I have seen empathetic sales people who take empathizing too far, leading to a negative outcome – losing the sale. Ideally, empathy would be a one-way street in sales. You are able to take all the emotion that someone is putting out and walk in their shoes, without having them walk in yours. For example, I had a client who struggled to close sales over a certain dollar value. It turned out the people she was speaking with lived in million dollar homes and she lived in a condo. What was “expensive” for the sales rep, was not expensive for the customer, it’s all relative. This sales person was putting too much of herself onto her customer. This made her hesitant in asking for a sale she couldn’t afford, but they could.
Personality blind spots
We all have blind spots. These are areas of our personality that are not as strong as others. Even our strongest personality traits have blind spots. When looking at the blind spots for an empathetic sales person, we see they are highly sensitive, introverted and affected by others’ negativity. Imagine how sales rejections or cold calls most feel for someone with those personality traits. If you aren’t an empath, you may struggle to relate to that feeling.
When hiring a salesperson, or coaching someone already on your team be aware of their personality strengths. Notice if they have highly desirable traits such as being a great listener, opening up and communicating with care. Lookout to see if they are negatively impacted or stressed out by sales calls that don’t go according to plan. Once you know more about the people on your team, you can provide them with the resources the need.
Build a well-rounded sales team
In short, your best approach is to have a well rounded sales team. Gallup or DISC assessments help you understand your team better and how they interact with each other and your customers. Fill your team with people who have complementary strengths or personality traits. This balance will allow you to better support each other and grow your business in innovative ways.