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Two Selling Skills You’ve Got to Have

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Two Selling Skills You've Got to Have

There are age-old concepts called Empathy and Ego drive. And, it says that as a good sales person you need both. A sales person, who lacks either empathy or ego drive, can never sell. Do you agree?

Empathy is the ability to feel for the customer, understand his needs, recommend a solution and think from his point of view. But, if you’re selling to, let us say, a company, how can you feel for a company? How can you think from a point of view of the company? Well, when you’re selling to a company you’re also selling to a person inside that company. So, you should empathize with that person. Ask yourself: “What is she thinking about? What will make her look good? What is her comfort level? Does she want more time?” So, thinking from the point of view of the customer is called empathy. And this is very important.

But some sales people overdo the empathy part and forget about the other part – the ego drive. A sales job is a very self-driving job and a sales person has to motivate himself. It is said that a salesman is successful if he succeeds once or twice in every 10 attempts. That is, if a salesman makes 10 calls, he will succeed in one or two. He is heavily stacked against success. So, he faces more failure than any other professional. The rejection, the “No”, is much higher in his day-to-day working. If a salesperson has to go forward, he needs to have the drive of achievement and of meeting his target. That is, thinking about his company and himself, not only the customer.

If he doesn’t balance these two, he will find the going tough. Supposing he is very empathetic, he is more a votary of the customer and he really doesn’t think about the company. In this case, we call him the soft seller. On the other hand, if he doesn’t care about the customer and is always thinking about his targets, he becomes a hard seller. Both are not good.

Just having either soft selling skills or hard selling skills won’t sustain him for long. So, a good salesperson needs to have a balance of both these skills or attributes. Two selling attributes you must have – is to empathize with the customer and think about yourself, and your company.

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  • Ooops, cut myself short in the comment I made

    Yes Asma I agree. Empathy is required. Ego Drive – yes, a desire to succeed and achieve may be another way of saying it. The desire does not always have to be about being the best or earning the most, it can be about proving a point or just making things happen and the thrill of creation.

  • I think the word “empathy” is misleading by its association to feelings. As John mentions, what is more important is to establish and understand the person or organisations needs and respond accordingly. The ability to achieve this will be greatly enhanced by the relationship which is built between the Sales Person and Client. Connecting effectively with clients can be enhanced with an empathetic approach providing it is sincere. Understanding the “why” as well as the “what” behind the established needs is a powerful tool that can greatly enhance the close. A good sales person will use the “why” as part of the justification process to create a strong desire to buy. Of course a successful sales person has to be self motivated and resilient, relationship between buyer and seller cannot be understated.