The sales world is constantly changing. What worked to capture the attention of prospective customers 10 years ago isn’t necessarily going to be an effective selling technique right now.
With that being said, there is one thing that never goes out of style: showing empathy.
Even the most experienced reps admit that it's difficult to keep empathy at the center of your efforts — especially with quotas on the line. When you’re constantly challenging yourself to send more emails, make more calls, and close more deals, it can be easy to lose sight of the human connection. But now more than ever, prospects are being bombarded with sales messages (most of which are automated and impersonal) across many channels. It’s going to take more than a catchy subject line to grab their attention. Humanizing your sales outreach can make all the difference if you want to stand out. Luckily, even a little empathy can go a long way, and you'll find many benefits when you think about how you can incorporate more of it into your sales routine. In this article, I’ll share five tips to help get you started.
Empathy is an important skill to learn and practice as a salesperson because it helps you put yourself in the shoes of others to try and understand how they feel. This type of interaction is essential to the sales process and is integral to building trust and fostering relationships. If you fully understand your prospects and their business problems, it’s much easier to communicate exactly why your product or service is going to help fix them.
So, what does this mean for email? Well, it’s harder to be outwardly empathetic when you’re not having a face-to-face interaction. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s impossible. Before you start working on your your next email, follow the five tips below to make your outreach more empathetic.
There’s a lot you can find out about people by doing some online research and thinking about ways you can make a more personal connection with a prospective customer. Many people use Twitter and LinkedIn as professional platforms to build a personal brand and share thought leadership pieces. You will be surprised about how much you can learn about a company or a person just by checking out their social media profile or doing a quick Google search. First, search for the company. Is it trending in the news? Did it recently receive a big round of funding? If the company recently went public, say congratulations in your email and express your excitement. Adding a small personal touch to your message instantly shows that not only have you done your research, but you care enough to personalize the email and empathize with what they might be feeling.
If the company is trending for a negative reason, it might not be the best idea to reach out right now. Make a note in your CRM database, and circle back a few weeks down the line once the news cycle has settled down.
There’s only so much you can do with a block of text in an email. That’s where video comes in. Using a sales enablement solution, reps can easily record short videos to include in email outreach. With video, the recipient gets to put a face to your name and pick up on your facial expressions. It’s a much more personal approach that enables you to show empathy in a more meaningful way.
This option is obviously a bit more time consuming than simply writing an email. Shooting a video requires some more preparation and careful consideration for exactly what you want to say in a short amount of time. Writing a script and talking through it before you hit the record button is an easy way to practice and time yourself. In the email itself, you always want to write compelling lead-in text that grabs the reader’s attention before they click on the video. Here’s an example:
As you can see from the example above, the email lead-in copy is short and sweet, and it shows that you did research beforehand. The text after the video is also concise. You won’t have the reader’s attention for very long, and you want their focus to be on what you’re saying during the video — not the text before and after.
When sending sales emails, there’s an element of balance between being overly promotional and being consultative that's tricky to master. The entire point of the email is to highlight your product, but at the same time you don’t want to come off as disingenuous or pushy. The best way to walk this fine line is to always provide value. Keep your customer’s pain points at the center of your message and share exactly why meeting with you will be worth their time. Put yourself in their shoes — would you reply to this email? If not, re-work the wording, and try again.
Humor can be a wonderful way to break the ice and build stronger connections with prospective clients. After all, people buy from people that they like. On the flip side, there’s also a chance that it can backfire if it’s not used within the appropriate context. This is where the research piece that we discussed earlier comes into play. If the company you’re trying to reach via email is currently in the news cycle for something not-so-great, then you likely want to refrain from cracking jokes. Similarly, if you already have an established relationship with the prospective customer and feel comfortable sharing a funny GIF or meme within the context of your email banter, then go for it. It helps lighten the conversation and shows you’re genuine. Use your best judgment.
The foundation of empathy is based on understanding and acknowledging the feelings of others. This goes hand-in-hand with the idea of always striving to provide value in your sales emails. If a prospect has declined to hop on a call with you, then it’s time to re-evaluate what resources you can offer that will bring additional value to your outreach.
For example, send a quick email where you attach a useful blog article or similar piece of content that covers an issue you know the recipient would find interesting. The key is to not ask for anything in return — simply offer the resource. This strategy will help keep you top of mind while also showing that you understand they may not be ready to buy from you just yet.
Sales techniques come and go, but being empathic is a long-lasting strategy for fostering better relationships with your prospects and customers.
If you’re struggling to get a positive response from your sales emails, consider going the extra mile to make deeper personal connections. Always aim to provide value and directly communicate how you can help solve someone else’s business problem. It may take you a little extra time, but it will pay off in the long run.