How often are you surprised at how your customers do things differently than you would?

In this post, I have a quick video for you where I share a story about my nephew and how he was scared to talk to strangers when we were golfing. It made me realize a pretty powerful concept that we should focus on at all times – empathy. I have been sharing this story with clients recently and it has definitely provided some “ah-ha” moments this week. I want to share with you why we need to develop empathy skills in communication, how to apply it, and also a cool resource you can use to better understand your customer. 

Watch my video below on empathy skills (it may not have totally loaded yet so give it a few more minutes. And I also may redo it because the quality looks weird. At least the message is there and I wanted to get it out before I went golfing so you could have it)

Does that resonate with you? Man, it really hit me like a ton of bricks! Poor kid was frozen solid. Remember this:

What may seem simple to you, may be difficult or even terrifying to someone else.

Why do we need empathy skills in business?

It may sound like a simple question, but this has huge impact on your results now and long-term. If you want to build a sustainable business, you should spend as much of your time as you can seeking to UNDERSTAND your customer.

I do quite a bit of training with sales teams on question skills and process to help them build repeatable best practices. If you want a quick idea on building some questions, check out my video on SPIN Selling. Developing your question skills will give you a huge advantage.

But take it a bit further. Questions, by themselves, can often lead to a situation where you are diagnosing or worse – interrogating. The next level of communication is all about how well you LISTEN to others. Read my other post on the best listening technique for sales and relationships for a super-tip.

The better you are able to understand your customer and put yourself in their shoes, the more likely you will be able to provide solutions to meet their needs.

The key is to think about how THEY would do it, rather than how you would do it.

How can you develop your empathy skills?

One of the easiest ways to learn to empathize more effectively is to simply observe yourself and your on behaviors. Read my post on being more observant to see if you are missing opportunities.

Another funny thing happened today while I was visiting my parents. My mom found an old box that had all my school stuff from when I was a kid. There were some things that she had saved from when I was my nephews age too. It reminded me of how I felt back then and I saw the progression from when I was a kid to now.

I still have a hard time focusing on my assignments and can be a bully on the playground, but that’s a different story.

It was just nice to know that we all go through changes and to remember how we felt at different times in our lives, based on our super-different experiences!

An easy way to develop empathy for others is to actually sit down and write out what you know about the people you deal with on a constant basis, especially your customers.

Segment your customers to create understanding

Here is my free gift for you today:

Download my free customer segmenting guide here.

Use the guide above and do this:

  1. Define your three main customer segments
  2. Identify the core problems they face
  3. Outline a way that you can uniquely solve those problems
  4. Design questions to ask them to clarify their needs
  5. Provide insights to them that include your newly developed empathy skills

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That should get you started

Go out and take action! Are there assumptions you are making about others that maybe you should shift your thinking on?

I would love to hear your comments below…

Joe Girard
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