Blog Posts

The Power of Empathy in Sales

January 2, 2023

Technology has greatly impacted sales and led to significant improvements. Tools that help us get through the heavy lifting and tedious tasks are priceless. However, it is important to consider whether our reliance on technology has caused us to lose touch with our intuition and ability to engage in meaningful conversations. The sales process becomes more complex as technology gets to the core. And In order to keep things simple, we need to bring the human element back into the mix. In this article, we will reveal the distinctive impact of empathy and emotional intelligence in making a difference in complex sales processes and overcoming the challenges technology brings to the table.
The Role of Technology in Sales 
The sales tech industry is undergoing rapid transformation. Chief Martech reports that there are around 10,000 businesses operating in the marketing and technology sector, and this sector saw a 24% increase during the pandemic.  A key aspect of this growth is a shift towards customised solutions. Using advanced tools allows for more data to be collected and analysed, leading to the development of more targeted solutions and increased productivity and engagement through the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Given the data and comments from industry leaders, it is clear that these efforts are yielding positive results. According to Deloitte, 41% of executives from companies with a high level of digital advancement noted that digital transformation has had a positive impact on their sales and marketing operations. So why do we need to rebalance the scales in favour of humanity if technology is both useful and necessary in the current sales landscape? Let’s deepen our perspective and discover the reason!
Why Should We Rebalance the Scales? 
Today, sales processes are becoming more and more complex as the number of stakeholders involved in the process and customers’ knowledge, awareness and options are constantly increasing. Technological tools effectively facilitate many repetitive and tedious tasks in sales with innovations such as email automation. However, they do not have the unique instincts and adaptability of humans in processes that form the core of sales–communicating with customers. Data is collected throughout the sales value chain, but no sales challenges are the same. Therefore, the methods that must be applied to overcome difficulties also constantly differ. Algorithms created to act on a certain pattern cannot adapt to situations that require rapid perspective shifts. At this point, in order to successfully manage the sales process, we need the human touch, a power that can successfully accomplish what technology cannot.
What Makes People Unique in Sales 
To be successful in complex sales processes, it is necessary to analyse the needs, habits and goals of decision-makers and create meaningful and valuable dialogues. Humans have a unique tool to use in this process that machines do not have–their emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence, which includes being aware of one’s own emotions and managing them effectively, as well as being motivated, having strong social skills, and being empathetic, is crucial for success in the sales industry.  While all components of emotional intelligence are important, the game-changing factor is empathy So what makes empathy so valuable?
Importance of Empathy in Sales 
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. It involves being able to recognise and understand the emotions that someone else is experiencing and respond to them in a way that is appropriate and sensitive Psychologists Daniel Goleman and Paul Ekman have dug deep into this concept and argued that there are 3 types of empathy.
1.Cognitive Empathy
Cognitive empathy is the capacity to comprehend and recognise someone else’s perspective by considering their emotions rather than personally experiencing them.
2.Emotional Empathy 
This is the ability to physically sense and experience the emotions of another person. This type of empathy allows individuals to easily and instinctively connect with others’ emotions without requiring deep analysis or contemplation.
3.Compassionate Empathy 
This is the ability to understand and anticipate the needs of others. Empathic concern involves feeling compassion and concern for the well-being of others and is focused on being supportive and helpful to those in need. Empathy is important in sales because it allows salespeople to connect with their clients on a deeper level, better understand their needs and concerns, and respond appropriately to the emotions of their clients, which can improve the overall sales process. By showing empathy, salespeople can also build trust and rapport with their clients. When customers feel that a sales team understands their needs and concerns, they are more likely to feel comfortable making a purchase.
Why Empathy Is a Game-Changer 
Empathetic sales professionals prioritise humane thought patterns in complex sales processes, ensuring that accurate data can be translated into useful actions. This is something that current algorithms fail to achieve. Imagine that a salesperson named Jane is meeting with a potential client named John to discuss a new product that her company is offering. John is hesitant to make a decision and clearly frustrated with the product. If Jane is empathetic, she will recognise that John is feeling frustrated and try to understand why he is feeling this way. She might ask questions to better understand his concerns and show that she is actively listening to him.  By demonstrating empathy, Jane is able to build a stronger connection with John and establish trust, which can alleviate his frustration and make him more open to considering the product. The best part is that Jane can use analyses obtained from technological tools to enhance the empathetic conversation she’s having with John. It’s like adding rocket fuel to an already impressive fire. On the other hand, if Jane doesn’t get it and just spews out unrefined data instead of responding with understanding and compassion, she can turn the situation sour, like adding salt to a wound. Technology may not be the superhero of the sales world on its own, but it can definitely be the trusty sidekick when used to boost an empathetic conversation. 
How to Improve Empathy Skills for Sales 
To develop and improve their empathetic skills in sales, here’s what your team can do to
1.Practise Active Listening
Encourage your sales team to pay close attention to what their customers are saying and try to understand their perspective. They should not intervene or try to immediately offer a solution without fully understanding the problem.
2.Ask Open-Ended Questions
Asking open-ended questions can help salespeople better understand their customers’ needs and concerns. It also shows that the team is genuinely interested in their thoughts and feelings.
3.Use Body Language
Nonverbal cues, such as eye contact, facial expressions, and posture can help salespeople show empathy and connect with their customers on a deeper level.
4.Put Themselves in Their Customers’ Shoes
An emphatic team should see things from the customers’ perspective and imagine how they would feel if they were in their situation. This can help salespeople understand customer needs and concerns more fully. Empathy is crucial for personal and professional growth, but when it is integrated into a progressive mindset, it leads to exceptional sales performance for teams.  If you’re ready to enable your team to go beyond their limits by unlocking a holistic growth mindset and developing essential sales skills, including empathy, you can discover LSOS’ unique sales training courses. You can always contact our team about anything you want to discuss. We will be more than happy to talk!