Oct 10, 2018
3 min

How to Sell without Selling: Use Empathy as your Guiding Principle

When you hear the word “salesman”, what is the first thing that jogs your memory? You might recall the famous scene in ​Wolf of Wall Street ​where aspiring stock-brokers are asked to sell a pen. Or maybe think back to the time you purchased your first car. Sales transactions are a natural part of life. While some are fully voluntary like buying Starbucks or ordering PostMates, sales within other fields can be an arduous and evolving process. In the most literal understanding, a salesman’s goal is to sell you a product or service. But in reality, sales is a deeply nuanced field with various layers and approaches.

Each salesperson has their own strategy and preference. None of them any more or less correct. It just depends on your values and what lens you are looking through when interacting with your client. Throughout my time in previous roles, and most especially while here at Dubsado, I’ve learned my sales approach is guided by one principle: ​empathy​.

Here are a few things I’ve learned to be mindful of with each client I speak to:

1.  The needs of your client come from a genuine and vulnerable place.

Apart from the fact they are needing a solution, your encounter with them can often be an outlet to candidly voice their frustrations. Particularly if you service other businesses, they are confiding in you, and trusting you with the source of their livelihood.  

2. Listening intently is more important than expressing what your points are to land the sale.

We often have things we want to excitedly convey, but breaking down their most immediate concerns will make the interaction more nurturing. It may be difficult at times if you feel like they are not following your input, but it’s important to be at peace knowing your client will always have their own opinions and interpretations. Above all, ​listening i​ s what will strengthen your bond and connection with your client.

3. Emotional intelligence and client happiness go hand in hand.

The ebbs and flows of a conversation can lead to unexpected places. While you’d normally approach an encounter with your solution in mind, responding to, and relating to a client’s emotions can help build an atmosphere they are comfortable returning to. If you are able to relate to your client on the most human level, the point when your business can step  in will come naturally. In my own experience, this understanding has helped to cultivate the most pleasant interactions. With empathy in mind, the primary goal becomes understanding a client’s most sincere pain points. While I wholeheartedly believe in most cases that our service would benefit someone’s business, my intention is never to sway or pressure a commitment. If we are wrapping up a call or a demo, my only aim is to ensure that you felt more happy and informed than you were before.

I don’t believe people inherently enjoy being “sold to”. And it’s that same reason why a lot of my own purchases have come at the recommendation of someone I trust, or a salesman that let me process my own conclusions without prying too hard. Now this does imply they may not take what you say with full consideration, but they will genuinely appreciate knowing that your motive was never to force something.

When people are making the decision to purchase a product, they want to feel in ultimate control of what they end up deciding. They never want to be sold to, but informed, and led to a decision.

While nurturing a potential lead, a great way to increase conversion is to approach the encounter as a trusted friend who is showing something they are excited about. The goal is not to suffocate a sale at the end of the interaction, but leading them to understand you’ve got a great offering that you’re hoping they will consider. Being as transparent as possible is key, and leaving the decision open ended helps them feel better about their choice.

The greatest benefit to this approach is that they don’t have bad blood about their decision. They were informed, they were not coerced, and they arrived at the outcome themselves. Ultimately, making them a long lasting client who will stick with you.

If you offer a service that is ongoing in nature, it’s not the amount of client’s you land, but the amount that you keep. If your core clientele are happy and satisfied, you may be fortunate enough that they bring more clients to you. This is why I believe that empathy can go along way.

This post is by Joey Meily our resident salesperson. He's been an integral part of how Dubsado has scaled over the past two years. He brings empathy to sales which not only helps us convert more, but also makes sure that our customers are getting the proper solutions, not just something that was forced upon them. Enjoy the read!

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