Customer Communications
and the Empathy Deficit

Have you ever wondered why some people seem naturally quite good at sales and communications, while others struggle? It has a lot to do with the way our brains are wired. In fact, the quality of your customer communications depends on your ability to show empathy.

We innately connect with others, both emotionally and physiologically, without even trying. It’s basic human nature. Yet some people are more predisposed to it than others. When we feel empathic, we are better able to understand others’ feelings, thoughts and experiences.

The ability to empathize is wired into almost all human brains, and it’s a prerequisite to understanding what drives others’ intentions and motivations.

Understanding others is required for all effective social interactions. So, how does it help you create a positive sales experience and stellar customer communications?

Empathy vs Ego in Sales

The intrinsic need to persuade and convince someone else – along with the resilience of ego to take the battering of rejection – has long been established as a cornerstone trait of successful salespeople. A powerful ego comes up as a strong driver of what it takes to make it in sales.

Yet ego alone is also what is failing people in sales. To get from where you are today to where you need to be in the future, you’ll need to develop a conscious focus on others.

The right balance of ego with empathy facilitates communication and boosts sales effectiveness.

The Empathy Deficit

Sometimes I wonder if we’re putting less emphasis on other people in favor of more attention to winning. In the work I do coaching, I rarely get requests from people who want to become more empathic. It’s usually requests for coaching to achieve more.

Studies show, in fact, that our sense of empathy is eroding. The Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan has collected data for more than 30 years, and researchers have found that young adults are 40 percent less empathetic than their counterparts in 1979. The ability to feel for others dropped steeply in 2000, and narcissism rates have skyrocketed.

Many experts speculate that these trends can be attributed to increases in Internet usage, texting, and cell-phone and computer ubiquity. Regardless of the cause, the solution lies in regaining a focus on others. In other words, stop playing with your Smartphone while others are talking!

I’d love to hear your opinion on this. What do you think? As a society, are we becoming less empathic?

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