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Pump Up the Empathy, Get Customers’ Attention

Directly addressing the pain points customers are facing will let them know you are here to help.
empathy at work seen through paperclips

For those of you who missed the recent virtual edition of MDM’s Sales GPS conference, the event was packed with takeaways both large and small that can apply to your business immediately — many with no need for any new financial investments. That’s not to say that financial investment is the top impediment or most important indicator of how difficult it will be to implement a change in your business. 

I would argue, in fact, that financial considerations can rank well below factors that are often seen as ‘soft’: company culture, openness to change and even mental fortitude. That’s one reason why I thought the session from Colleen Stanley of SalesLeadership, Inc., deserved to be highlighted in this issue of Premium. Check out our cover story, “The Cultural Shift that will Create an Empowered, Integrated Sales Team.” 

Stanley does an excellent job of addressing the EQ skills needed to make a connection with customers and prospects, especially during this time of what she called “COVID brain,” where people’s fight-or-flight instincts have been triggered by things like long work hours, new assignments taken on after colleague layoffs and the need to balance work and home life like never before.  

Bringing your sales and marketing teams together on customer communications and interactions, Stanley argues, is a great way to ensure you are capturing a broader picture of what clients are going through right now. That way, your team can zero in on the best ways to communicate the fact that your business is here to solve their problems. “When we can have marketing and sales both listening to the conversations, I promise you, they will hear [customer needs] from a different perspective,” she said. 

Get Straight to the (Pain) Point

This applies to written communications as well. Stanley said distributors can fall into a trap of trying to sound too smart in marketing copy when they think they are speaking the language of the customer. To make an emotional connection with a customer or prospect, it helps to sound like them, but that doesn’t mean simply using the terms they use to describe a complex mechanical process, for example. Dig deeper to address the problems they want solved within that process. 

In a real-life example, Stanley helped a distributor to convert their marketing copy around a webcast for machinery designers and engineers looking to develop additional product expertise.  

  • “The basics of plastics material selection” became “Avoiding mistakes in plastics material selection.” 
  • “Advanced materials for friction and wear” became “Selecting materials that don’t wear out too soon or too often.” 
  • “Metal and x-ray detectable plastics” became “Eliminating the problem of plastics ending up in food.” 

By tweaking the copy to directly address the customer’s pain points, Stanley pumped up the empathy factor. “It’s a basic human need,” she said. Psychology, physiology, emotional intelligence and consultative selling skills. That’s what wins business.  

For much, much more on the small moves that win business, you can watch Stanley’s entire presentation — as well as all Sales GPS content from the last four years! — by becoming a member of our Sales GPS Network. Find out more at mdm.com/sales-gps

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