In this article, we are going to learn about empathic listening and using it in business communication to win the sales deal effectively. Communication is the most important skill in life. Reading, writing, speaking, and listening are forms of communication. Out of these four types, one of the best forms of communication is listening. The types of listening techniques that we often use with others are active listening (showing interest towards the speaker and giving signals about your understanding) and reflective listening (repeating the words of the speaker and narrate to show your understanding).
What is the Principle of Listening? According to Steven R Covey, the author of ‘7 habits of highly effective people’, the above-mentioned listening techniques are skill-based, truncated from character and relationships, and often insults those “listened” in such a way. He further adds Empathic listening gets inside another person’s frame of reference. Empathy is not sympathy. Sympathy is a form of agreement, a form of judgment. The essence of empathic listening is not that you agree with someone; it’s that you fully, deeply, understand that person, emotionally as well as intellectually. Having understood this principle, it is important to know how to apply it in your business communication to win sales. Initiating the Sales Process If you want to make a potential customer buy your product, he must believe in you and your product first. People buy either a trustworthy product or a product from a trustworthy person. Here we are dealing with the sale of a good product from a trustworthy individual. You may have a better product than your competitors. But, to make others understand the features of your product, you should prepare their mind to listen to you. This is very basic to win sales using empathic listening. The best option to make someone listens to you is listening to them from heart and mind. Let us assume a situation where the customer is not willing to listen to your sales proposal. In this situation, you must understand why he is refusing to listen by asking them a polite question. You can tell him, “Since you’re very busy, I am extremely sorry for disturbing you, But I am ready to make a call when you are available for a short discussion. I am sure our newly added features in the product will certainly add value to your life and business. Can I have your appointment in the evening for a few minutes …….?” Now, let us assume you have got an appointment in the evening. When you are ready to talk to him, please ensure you understand his state of mind. If he is anxious or nervous or not showing interest, then you must show interest in understanding them as a friend. Not from mind, but full of heart. When your client complains about your product or even blames about your firm, then you must be willing to listen to their complaint as a third party. You must put yourself into his shoes and understand him completely. You must probe him more so that he can talk to you more about the problem. When he gets emotional, you need to use empathic listening to understand him better. Whenever he asks a logical question, you must answer him logically. The key is to know when to switch over your listening mode between your heart and brain and sometimes both. “When you listen with empathy to another person, you give that person psychological air. Once that vital need is met, you can then focus on influencing or problem-solving.” -Stephen R Covey Making Sales Negotiations Now, you have already established a strong emotional understanding between you and your customer, and he would have trusted you as an individual. So, it wouldn’t be tough to reach his mind with your sales proposal. Once your customer gets confident that he has conveyed all his problems to you and you understood him completely, then only you should initiate your sales process by introducing your product as a solution to his problems. While making negotiations, or acceptance anytime his state of mind can go to emotional from a logical mindset. In that case, you must be ready to understand his concerns and go back to the previous steps until you gain confidence again. If your customer had a difficult question and wasn’t answered by you satisfactorily then admit that you do not have the answer now, and ensure he gets the answer within a reasonable time. Yes, as you think, it takes time, But In order to establish a long-term relationship with your customer, you must be ready to spend your time in establishing the emotional account. It is not practical to sell to every customer you meet and win the sales using empathic listening, but empathic listening will help your customer to remember you for a lifetime, and there are huge possibilities that he will come back to you when he needs your product.
Conclusion The rules are simple, 1. Acknowledge your customers’ emotions. 2. Apologize when you understand that you disturbed him. 3. Ask for an appointment. 4. Ask more questions so that you can understand their problems. 5. Listen to him from your heart as well as the mind – Use Empathic Listening. 6. Convey how your product or service is going to solve the problem. 7. If the customer says no to sales, go back to step 4 8. You can’t sell to all customers all the time, but that’s OK. 9. Keep moving. Wish you all the best.