The Empathy/Focus balance

One of my favourite quotes that talks about how to be successful in sales is from Zig Ziglar. Zig is one of the premier Motivional Speakers. I believe he is in his 70’s now and still going strong. The quote that I love is,

“You can get anything you want in life, as long as you help enough other people get what they want.”

I believe this quote talks about the Empathy/Focus balance that is critical for salespeople to be effective.

Empathy is the part of yourself that allows you to put yourself in the shoes of your customer. This means helping them. Instead of selling them a product. Help them solve a problem. This will take the emphasis off you and on the customer. And customers know when salespeople are only looking out for themselves.

They sense it and they don’t like it.

Years ago, I worked in a retail sporting goods store and one of our manufacturers sales reps was in the store showing the line of products that we were booking for the next season. This rep was encouraging us to bump up the order and then he revealed that if he sold so many dollars that booking season he would receive a trip to Hawaii.

So he wanted us to overstock our store, just so he could take a vacation. Well not only did we not bump up our order, but we reduced our order by over 50%.

Customers don’t really care about helping you reaching your goals. They are only concerned about reaching their own.

When you show empathy for them and try to help solve their problem, they will reward you with a sale.

Also, if you have too much empathy and not enough focus, you may not get enough sales.

Your focus is really your goal orientation. Your drive that helps you focus on your goals and work hard to achieve them.

It is that part that helps you ask for the order.

Too much empathy and not enough focus and you will have a few really happy customers. But you won’t be making enough to survive.

Too much focus and not enough empathy will cause you too push too hard and end up pushing your customer away.

The key is the balance.

Just like Zig Ziglar says: “You can get anything you want in life, as long as you help enough other people get what they want.”


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