“As a former surgeon, I can tell you that just like doctors need to have empathy for their patients, your sales team needs to develop empathy for your customers.” – Alex Young in today’s Tip 1141
How do you build EQ in your sales team?
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Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today’s tip comes from Alex Young. Alex is a surgeon turned human performance expert, who specializes in revolutionizing the way people learn, train, and perform through immersive tech. His startup, Virti, enables organizations to build VR/AR tools to improve how employees learn skills. Virti was named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies of 2021. Here he is:
Alex Young: Hey salespeople! Whether you’re a brand new SDR, a seasoned Account Executive, or a CRO, building trust and rapport with your customers is absolutely essential. But how can you increase the EQ of your salesforce and generate trust for your customers so that they open up and share their problems? Well, as a former surgeon, I can tell you that just like doctors need to have empathy for their patients, your sales team needs to develop empathy for your customers.
Empathy is simply the ability to understand the feelings of someone else and pick up on emotional cues. And building empathy in your sales team really begins with onboarding. You should try and put your new sales hires into the shoes of your customers from day one. If you’re selling an HR product into the L and D space, for example, get your sales team to actually create a learning program just like your customers do every single day so that they can appreciate their frustrations. Next, have new sales hires deeply understand customer needs by analyzing past customer calls and immersing themselves into the language and the energy of your customers. Once your sales team have a good understanding of your customer’s struggles, you then want to empower your salespeople with communication and soft skills training to build empathetic habits.
Now, research from CEB suggests that customers want sales professionals who do five key things. Firstly, they want people who can offer unique and valuable spectrum on the market. Secondly, they want people who can help them navigate alternative solutions. Thirdly, they want people who offer advice or consultation. Fourthly, they want people who can help them to avoid potential landmines. And fifth, and finally, they want people who can help update them and educate them on new issues and outcomes. And these are very similar to what a doctor might do in a hospital clinic.
Educating the patient on treatment options, being nonjudgmental, ensuring that the patient is informed, and coming to an action plan together. When I was in medical school, we used to use role-plays just like sales role-plays to practice communicating with patients. These role-plays talk conversation structure as well as power skills like active listening and mirroring the body language of patients to subconsciously build rapport. In terms of conversation structure to build empathy like doctors, salespeople should begin their conversations with open questions to allow the customer to talk freely rather than responding to closed questions only. And don’t just feel like you need to stick to a single open question. Medics are advised to use three open questions to ensure patients share as much as possible in their own words at the front of the conversation.
Beyond probing their pain points and qualifying them against bant, sales training should encourage sales professionals to explore the ideas, concerns, and expectations of the customer in relation to the product that they’re buying. As this helps the sales professional to more deeply understand the emotional drivers behind the customer’s decision process. Just like doctors, sales training should encourage sales professionals to be honest with customers and this also means being brave enough to challenge their assumptions and educate them using accurate data. Exactly like a surgeon might update a patient on the latest treatment options. Sales professionals should come prepped with the latest market data to help educate customers and solve their problems. Most importantly for increasing EQ and sales reps, sales training should instill the theme of helping the customer above all else to help frame the conversation in such a way that the sales rep as a trusted advisor there to help the customer.
So next time you take a trip to your doctor’s office, see if you can spot how they run the conversation to build empathy and trust and compare it to your own sales training and your own selling technique.
Scott Ingram: For links to subscribe to Alex’s YouTube channel and podcast, just click over to DailySales.Tips/1141 and we’ll have both of those links for you. Once you’ve done that, be sure to come back tomorrow for another great sales tip. Thanks for listening!