I came across this website today: ChangingMinds.org. As an online marketer who’s ultimate job it is to develop and execute marketing initiatives that help drive revenue, I found the website quite valuable in helping me understand the aspects of how we can change what others think, what they believe, how they feel, and what they do. In a world where social media is a driving force that significantly influences and shapes people’s opinions, beliefs, and decisions, I think it’s important to remember that when it comes to getting people to buy what you are selling, the way we market and sell needs to change.
It’s no longer about you, your product, or your message. In order to be successful, it all needs to be about the customer. Long gone are the days when someone would buy your product because you said so. Today, buyers rely on transparent, two-way collaboration, reviews, ratings, and specific examples that highlight experiences and emotions – not products.
So where should you start? The first step is to become more aware of your customers’ feelings. Empathize with them and let them know that you understand their pain and genuinely want to solve their problem. ChangingMinds.org offers several sections of information that may be helpful in understanding how to leverage empathy to drive sales. The section that focuses specifically on empathy is particularly interesting. Here’s a quick excerpt:
The value of empathy comes not from understanding the other person’s feelings, but what you do as a result of this.
Empathy connects people together
When you empathize with me, my sense of identity is connected to yours. As a result, I feel greater in some way and less alone. I may well, as a result, also start to empathize more with you. In a therapeutic situation, having someone else really understand how you feel can be a blessed relief, as people with emotional problems often feel very much alone in their different-ness from other people. The non-judgmental quality can also be very welcome.
Therapeutically, it can be a very healing experience for someone to empathize with you. When someone effectively says ‘I care for you’, it also says ‘I can do that, I can care for myself.’
Empathy builds trust
Empathy displayed can be surprising and confusing. When not expected, it can initially cause suspicion, but when sustained it is difficult not to appreciate the concern. Empathy thus quickly leads to trust.
Empathy closes the loop
Consider what would happens if you had no idea what the other person felt about your communications to them. You might say something, they hated it, and you continued as if they understood and agreed. Not much persuasion happening there! The more you can empathize, the more you can get immediate feedback on what they are experiencing of your communications with them. And as a consequence, you can change what you are saying and doing to get them to feel what you want them to feel.
See what I mean? Quite insightful and thought provoking.