Although I didn’t know it at the time, I started a “sales career” when I entered the fitness industry in my mid 20’s. I began my career as a personal trainer at a high-end fitness center on the Upper Westside of Manhattan, New York, and after many hours on the job I reached a master-level trainer position. I quickly began leading our team of very talented trainers in new clients booked…and yet I never “sold” a thing. I didn’t track anything. I didn’t give referral fees, sparsely advertised and I never lowered my rates. At that time, due to my extreme naivete, I didn’t consider myself a salesperson.
I just trained my clients while my book of business continued to grow. How was this possible? The answer is one simple word, and it’s a word that is still misunderstood in the sales world today…Empathy
What few people knew back then was I was once very overweight and out of shape. I knew what it felt like. I knew about the shame, the self-doubt, the apathy, the voices in their heads that told them:
- “You’re always going to be fat, just accept it.”
- “You’re too far gone, it’s going to be too hard.”
- “It’s ok, you can just start Monday.”
I could also understand that feeling of not knowing where to start, what to do, and who to listen to when it came to getting in shape. There was no Google or YouTube for me to go to at that time, only muscle mags that highlighted images of seemingly unattainable god-like athletes. I knew what that sense of despair and hopelessness felt like.
So when I sat and spoke with (not at) my prospects in their initial complimentary consultation, without me even knowing it, they felt seen, heard, understood, and most importantly, they felt safe— safe to trust me with the future of their health. Why would they literally trust me with their bodies? Because I knew what it felt like to walk in their shoes and before I said a thing about what they needed to do or how I could help them, I spoke to them from that place.
The next time you sit across from a prospect, a current client, a colleague, or a loved one, take some time beforehand to consider:
- what it’s like to be them
- what their goals and objectives are
- what it must feel like to meet with the many obstacles to those goals they face every day
In a nutshell, imagine, research, and examine in as much detail as possible, what it must feel like to walk a mile in their shoes.
Employing empathy in the sales conversations separates the rock stars from the robots. Empathy elevates you from vendor to trusted advisor. Vendors are merely transactional. Trusted advisors master long-lasting relationship building. Ask yourself, and be honest, which one are you, and which one would you prefer to be?
If tapping into your empathy superpower is a challenge for you, consider exploring our Braintrust Academy HERE. We’ll walk you through our neuroscience-based customer conversion process where we explain how to use empathy as one of many strategies designed to help you leverage your untapped superpower.