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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The business of empathy...

Empathy~definitionThe ability to understand another person’s circumstances, point of view, thoughts, and feelings.

Why it's important

There are good reasons to have empathy. Not just in doing business, but in all aspects of life. Sometimes it's hard to see things as others see them. I am still working on this at times. It's impossible to fully understand the extent of what someone else is going through, because there are so many things we keep hidden. We have gotten really good at hiding our feelings and bad experiences, and presenting only what we want people to see.

That's why it's so important to be compassionate if another person actually does open up to you, and tell you something. In my job, I have heard so many heartbreaking stories of every day people. Things I'm pretty sure they didn't share with too many others. But they chose to share with me because they trusted me. That's huge. For someone to trust you with a very personal piece of information, and something that has hurt them very deeply. It means they are thinking of you as a friend.

It also means it's time to take off the business hat, and just be a human talking to another human. I've been told not to touch people, that it's not a necessary part of the job. That it's too personal. It could cause a lawsuit, etc. That's just not acceptable to me. If someone is hurting, my natural instinct is to care enough to try to comfort them. And the instinct to reach out to another person who is hurting should be rewarded, not criticized. We all need to be loved and cared about. And there are times when you need to throw out that stupid rule book, and just be a person caring about another person.

How it fits into the business world

There are times when we are expected to meet our numbers. To push and push until we're exhausted. I have to meet quota every day. It can be very taxing if you don't take things one day at a time. Overwhelming, in fact. That's why I've learned to sometimes take things hour by hour. Sales is definitely challenging work, and not for people who are easily disturbed. You have to have nerves of steel, and an even tougher will. It is always in the back of our minds. Which sometimes makes you feel like you're rushing to beat the clock. Don't make the mistake of rushing to take care of your customers, though.

I know it can be difficult. I've gone through all of it, and for a long time. But I've learned that if I just slow down and listen, I find out everything I need to know to help the person in front of me. I think you probably realize I'm not the average salesperson. I know about business, and I have a lot of other skills. All of these things are things I've taught myself. Forced myself to learn. And one of the main things I also learned very early on was that, if you don't have the ability to relate to others, you aren't going to make it very far in life. 

Empathy is vital in every aspect of our lives, from our marriages to our relationships with our colleagues. Our relationships with our clients require empathy, and painstaking attention to detail if we want them to last. Listening to the customer, and understanding what they really need. It takes caring and empathy. Sometimes they could talk to you about something having nothing to do with business. Sometimes, they might even cry about something they are going through. It happens. They could tell you some things that shock you or break your heart. The best thing to do in that situation is just to listen. To let them get out what they need to say. To show them that you care about them. At that point, you don't need to be thinking about business, just the business of being empathetic.

The new business acumen

There's only so much you can learn from a book. They're just words on paper. The author may have translated an experience, or something they wanted you to feel. But it's up to the you, the reader, to interpret the deeper meaning of what was intended. 

Business in a book is different than business in the real world. Two totally different experiences. Business in theory is completely different than dealing with actual human beings in real life. And in real time. Real politics. Actually getting your hands dirty, doing the work is different than reading or fantasizing about what it could be like. It's going to break your heart. But it's also going to make you better at understanding just what that person standing in front of you is going through. Because you've been there.

Same thing with our feelings as human beings. We feel very passionately. It is part of being human. We have such deep feelings, and we keep a lot of them hidden. A lot of us are going through some terrible things. Things we can't even talk about. But we're going through them. Every day. We hurt deeply. Not just us, but the whole of humanity feels the same things we as individuals are feeling right this very second. 

Humans are sensitive creatures, who are fine tuned to feel. We are deeply affected by the feelings and actions of others. We are biologically made to feel the feelings of others. It is in our DNA. And we can't help but incorporate that into everything we do. When we do business with another person, we want to know that they understand what we need. At least on some level. That they can relate to us. That they feel what we feel. That they are human, too. We can't do business with people who are closed off, who give one word answers. Who don't have to ability to look us in the eye and smile. It makes us doubt if they can be trusted. And we need to trust those we do business with. Those we choose to invite into our lives. Those who invite us into theirs.

Thanks for stopping by...CC

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Why we love to...

Goals in blogging

What are they? Objectives in blogging...they ARE important, you know. I knew when I started this blog that I wanted to help salespeople to sell better. I wanted to help them to grow, and to be proud to be in sales. To look at it as a legit profession, and to own it. That was objective number one.

I also wanted to see if I could expand on what I already knew. And if you do any blogging for an extended period of time, you always expand on what you know. You have to, because each blog post requires you to do your own extended research. Blogging is a great way to learn while you are also teaching others about subjects they are interested in.

To continue, you have to like writing. It's as simple as that. If you hate writing, blogging is not for you. You won't continue to write if you have a distaste for it. But for some people, writing is like breathing. They can't go a day without writing something creative. And blogging is perfect for people who love to create.

There are other ones, too

Other reasons why people write. One of them being a desire to start a business, to market their business, and to make money. They blog to get writing assignments that can earn them extra income. Some bloggers write to proliferate their web presence, and to grow their customer base. They want to add to their current clientele.

Some people build a business on the internet, but most have other irons in the fire. And their internet marketing, or their blogging, is used to enhance their other business ventures. Still, others blog simply for enjoyment. For the sharing aspect, and for being able to give back to their community.

For whatever reason you choose to blog, I hope you decide to take it up. And if you're already blogging, please continue to keep that amazing content flowing. This is a free form of art that needs to be kept alive and thriving. I would love to see blogging grow even more, because I've discovered so many great people through blogging. Another great aspect of blogging is the communities you build with others who share the same love for this art form. Let's keep it alive.

Thanks for stopping by...CC

Monday, June 4, 2012

The boomerang effect...

Mastering the throw

If you throw a boomerang correctly, it is designed to turn back in your direction, landing right where you initially threw it. Hmmm. If you throw it correctly, and if you stay standing in the same spot. If you throw at approximately a 45 degree angle, instead of throwing it too far up in the air, and crashing it to the ground, breaking your beloved boomerang into bits. If you don't hold your hands awkwardly when it returns back to you, so as not to injure you fingers. A delicate process indeed. These guys make it look too easy. Same thing as when you see an expert seller at work.

Case in point

I have seen this happen so many times in my job. Personally, I am not one of those pushy salespeople who tries to pester people into buying from me. I don't have to. I just offer them something I know they're not going to find if they go around the corner into another department. Me. My help. My sincerity. I make them remember the way I spoke to them. I'm not going to give away my dialogue, but it always works. And even if they walk away, they come back to me.

If they like you...

They'll come back. The question is...did you make yourself likable to them? Did you offer them something they couldn't find anywhere else? Did you make them feel comfortable, and customize your conversation to their specific needs?


Listen to them. This is one way to set yourself apart. If they tell you something, and you remember it. And then incorporate it into a statement meant to assess what they are really looking for. What they need that maybe they didn't even know they really needed. Something that may even be a better fit than what they had initially chosen. If you remember their name without them having to repeat it, that is huge. Most people are terrible with names, and calling a person by name at least a couple times during that initial meeting will really make them appreciate you.

Sometimes, a customer will need more time to think things over. They might not be sure about investing the money, or that your solution is best for their needs. They might need more time to check things out. But as long as you make them remember you, and you have a positive attitude, they will probably come back to you.

Patience and trust

That's what it takes. For you to believe in your customer. For you to believe they WILL do what they say. Not getting upset, and scowling, while muttering about how inconsiderate they are for not coming back. Wait a minute. They ARE coming back. You know that, right? Because you talked to them in a way they respected. That made them remember you. And even though they may try to meander through a maze of other salespeople, they will ultimately spin back around to the place where you are standing. Because you made them remember you. And they didn't get that from anyone else.

Thanks for stopping by...CC