In the wake of artificial intelligence (AI) and technological advances, the sales field has become more digital and less personable. However, there are things that AI will never be able to recreate. Levitin uses the analogy of a sous chef assisting the head chef. A sous chef helps the head chef prep all of the ingredients and get things ready so that the head chef can put her love and personality into each dish. AI is like the sous chef for a salesperson. Technology helps the salesperson gather data and information, organize their life, etc., but at the end of the day, it is the salesperson who must finalize the sale using their human attributes. Shari Levitin discusses this concept, and others, in this video interview, hosted by John Golden.
This expert sales interview reviews:
- The importance of empathy in the sales world
- How to learn empathy if it doesn’t come naturally
- Universal truths that apply in the real world and the sales world
Salespeople are not always naturally empathic. But, you can learn how to build and learn empathy. “What is more important in establishing influence, which is sales?” asks Levitin. “75% will say competency, and maybe 25% empathy. It’s a trick question, though, both are equally important, but the order matters.” Empathy is often put second when really it should come first. Empathy is the skill that will help you make a connection with someone and creates a relationship. Competency is when you show your reliability, integrity, and knowledge that will ultimately get you the sale, but if you don’t have an empathic connection with someone, they often won’t give you the chance to show your competency.
Practice Makes Perfect
When a person can build and grow empathy, their sales will make a noticeable positive shift. There are a few different ways to practice empathy. First, think logically. How do you build a deep relationship with someone? Don’t just start with surface level commonalities, like a sports team, ask questions that are rapport building. Talk about values, not just vocation. Secondly, practice, practice, practice! You can implement your budding empathy skills with lots of different people, not just those who you are trying to sell to. Try building quick relationships with people at the dry cleaners, at your kids’ sports games, etc. And third, remember what it’s like to be the buyer. Really put yourself in the shoes of the customer.
Levitin has coined many universal truths that apply both to the real world and the sales world, two of which are, “anything that can be told can be asked,” and “better people make better salespeople.” She recommends teaching communication skills that work not just in the workplace, but in every area of life. “The best salespeople in the world… all they do is listen,” says Levitin.
About Our Host
John is the Amazon bestselling author of Winning the Battle for Sales: Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World’s Greatest Military Victories and Social Upheaval: How to Win at Social Selling. A globally acknowledged Sales & Marketing thought leader, speaker, and strategist. He is CSMO at Pipeliner CRM. In his spare time, John is an avid Martial Artist.
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