June 26

Can Too Much Empathy Erode Sales?


Empathy is a powerful sales and sales leadership skill -- until it isn’t. That might sound strange coming from someone that teaches this powerful skill. However, sales managers are asking such questions as:

  • How do I achieve that fine balance of showing empathy without getting overloaded with my sales team’s concerns?
  • How do I balance showing concern with the necessity to achieve revenue?

The answer is a healthy combination of empathy and reality testing. It’s important that sales managers demonstrate they understand what their salesperson is thinking or feeling. And it’s equally important for sales managers to discuss the reality of today’s business environment.

The reality is that it’s a difficult time in business.

The reality is salespeople are experiencing longer sales cycles and hearing more objections.

The reality is many salespeople are having to learn new ways of selling to prospects and customers.

OK, so now what?

A sales manager can demonstrate empathy to show he understands what a salesperson is thinking or feeling. But demonstrating empathy doesn’t give a pass to a salesperson to wallow in self-pity. Empathy must be combined with a healthy dose of reality testing and stress-management skills. It’s what successful people do in life and business.

Successful people focus on what they can control rather than what they can’t. They don’t have to like the reality of their current situation, but they are not willing to be its victims.

Successful people do not keep whining about life not being fair, because it’s not. The reality is no one ever complained their way to success.

Successful people look forward rather than backward because the reality is you can’t “drive” to your next destination by looking out the rear view mirror.

During your next coaching session, demonstrate empathy, reality testing and stress management by asking these questions:

  • Where is your focus right now? What is in your control or out of your control?
  • What activities can you control and execute each day to drive results? (Get enough sleep, manage your time, learn new selling skills, ask for help, go the extra mile for clients.)
  • Are you waiting for the world to change or are you making the necessary changes to succeed in the new world?

Good Selling!


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