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Is Empathy Good or Bad in Sales?

Some may say empathy and sales go together like Peanut Butter and Jelly. In some cases this is quite true. However, my daughter is allergic to peanut butter and it could kill her, just like too much empathy could kill your sale.

Sales people with empathy are able to relate to their customers and understand how they are feeling. People may even be more likely to open up to an empathetic person. This could make it easier to gain the know, like and trust to close that sale naturally, without the “slimy salesperson act.”

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Blind spots

We all have blind spots, or areas of our personality that are not as strong as others. When you look at that for an empath, you see that they are highly sensitive, introverted and easily affected by others’ negative emotions. Imagine how sales rejection or cold calls most feel (if you are reading this and you are not empathetic, it is probably hard for you to imagine what this is like, so you will have to just take my word for it).  

A well balanced sales team

When hiring a salesperson, or coaching someone already on your team, if you notice they have some of the highly desirable traits, being a great listener, opening up and communicating with care, then be on the lookout also if they are negatively impacted or stressed out by sales calls that don’t go according to plan.

The first step to a happy and successful sales team is to understand each of them individually, the second step is getting them the individualized coaching support they need. Your best approach is to have a well rounded sales team. Personality trait and communication style assessments like Gallup or DISC are a great way to get to know your team better and how they interact with each other and with your customers. 


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Kristen has 15 years of experience as a sales management and business executive for small businesses and Entrepreneur Franchise 500 companies. Kristen applies her IT background to help small businesses find the best solutions that everyone at the company feels comfortable using so they can avoid spending too much money on technology that is over-complicated and never fully utilized. Kristen has spent years as a business and sales coach working with everyone from sailboat captains and gym rats to CEOs and international sales superstars. Kristen coaches all levels of sales staff to be their best by fully leveraging technology and utilizing a custom-designed sales process. Having started coaching as a personal trainer and group exercise instructor, Kristen now spends her time with small business owners and staff building a proven sales processes and implementing technology tools to grow their business.

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