Empathy has been described as the ability to know what another person is thinking or feeling. It’s an important influence skill in business and life.
However, to really know what another person is thinking or feeling, you first must develop another EQ skill: emotional self-awareness. The self-aware sales professional is in tune with the emotion they are feeling, why they are feeling it and how it affects how they show up.
The reality is if you don’t understand your own emotions, it’s very difficult to tune into the emotions of other human beings, your prospects and customers.
So how do we develop this important skill of self-awareness? The No. 1 strategy is carving out quiet time each day to think and reflect. Introspection allows time to inspect the thoughts and emotions you are feeling, which in turn helps you tune into the emotions of another human being.
So why aren’t sales professionals incorporating this practice (sales strategy) into their daily lives? This is not breaking news, as the power of scheduling quiet time has been taught for years.
No. 1. They really don’t believe that introspection and reflection is important. It’s that simple. When you believe something is important you will find the time, money and resources to act on that belief.
Ever notice how many people have the time to make an extra stop to drive through Starbucks, but don’t carve out five minutes to sit and think? Just sayin’.
No. 2. They get derailed early in the morning and never get to their quiet time. Sales professionals start their day by checking their smart phones. It’s the modern-day story of Pavlov’s dog. Human beings salivate at the opportunity to check emails, texts and alerts.
Once all the alerts are checked, a salesperson’s brain is racing with their growing to-do list. There is no time for this luxury of thinking and reflecting. There is work to do!
They give up the valuable time of checking in with themselves before they check in with the rest of the world.
No. 3. They allow judgement to take up precious space in their brains, which affects a person’s ability to be empathetic. “This prospect is just close-minded. My boss is clueless. My customers are too demanding.” When a salesperson puts on the judgement hat, it shuts down their ability to step into another person’s shoes and see the world from their perspective. Judgement prevents them from examining what another person is thinking or feeling.
Empathy is a powerful selling skill. Examine your beliefs, early morning habits and judgmental thoughts. Improve these thoughts, skills and habits, and you will improve your empathy muscle.