By Tom Martin
Can you pick my passions?
Recently during the Q&A after my Turning Conversations Into Customers webinar, one of the attendees asked, “Do you have any suggestions for quickly creating empathy with sales prospects?”
I didn’t have a good, quick answer. So today, I’m answering her question and hoping that you too find some value here as you work to leverage empathy-based sales prospecting to help you #SellGreatly.
Intend to Connect vs Convert
Yes, the first step is actually this easy. Sales Prospects can feel disingenuous conversations. We’re wired to sniff out bullshit and this BS filter is even more active at face-to-face events like conferences, trade shows and networking functions.
So do yourself a favor and remember that social selling success hinges on the social not the selling.
Smile & Make Eye Contact When You Say Hello
The eyes are the window to the soul. But more importantly, when you make direct eye contact (and hold it) with another person it helps you become and stay present in the conversation.
And when you smile it not only makes you appear friendlier and more engageable, science has shown that smiling actually makes you feel better emotionally by releasing a little dopamine hit to your brain. So you’ll actually enjoy this initial contact more than if you don’t smile.
Ask a Question About Something Specific to Your Sales Prospect
This should be an observation-based question. Don’t ask where they’re from or why they’re at the event, etc., notice something specific about them and inquire.
Then the hard part starts.
Listen. Actively. Really actively. Pay attention to everything they’re saying but more importantly, what they’re not saying.
The absence of information is information.
Specifically, the kind you can probe or use as a basis for a follow-up question.
Follow Up With a Feeling Question
Feeling questions scare folks because they require the person asking to actually care about the response. This is important. When your sales prospect answers, they’re giving up a little piece of themselves to you. They’re entering a vulnerability zone by offering up something emotive to you. They risk you not approving, lacking interest or worse, being turned off and ghosting the rest of the conversation.
That’s why folks always seem to ask fact-based questions during networking or face-to-face prospecting encounters. Fact-based questions are easier. There is less work required on the part of the asker and less risk on the part of the responder.
BUT – fact-based questions and answers don’t help you find common ground that can build the basis for creating an empathy-based connection.
Ask “Tell Me More” Questions
Far too often people ask closed questions when networking. They’ll ask if the person is enjoying the conference or the last session. And because most people dislike conflict or difficult/negative conversations, the response is almost “yes” or “it was good” even if they hated the session and or conference.
So now you have to start an entirely new line of questioning to start a <a target="_blank" href="http://conversedigital.com/social-selling-posts/how-do-you-turn-personal-conversations-into-new-customers" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener" aria-label="conversations that you might turn into a …read more
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