Empathy is one of the most powerful traits that a sales leader can have. In a world where buyers often feel bombarded with information—and get burned during high-pressure sales situations—the reps who care about their prospects’ best interests are the ones who are successful in winning new business. Empathy builds understanding and trust. Strong foundations for business relationships yield successful long-term outcomes.

So how do you show your prospects that you care? The key is to put yourself in your target customers’ shoes, listen to their needs, and recommend solutions that will simplify their pain points. Here are 3 TED talks to inspire and guide you.

5 Ways to Listen Better

Empathy starts with an open mind and an open heart. If you want to build a true connection with your prospects, you’ll want to learn how to listen to their needs. Instead of focusing on having the perfect pitch in your sales presentations, practice becoming a better listener. Learn specific techniques by watching this TED talk with Julian Treasure, a consultant who advises businesses on how to use sound. 

How to Magically Connect with Anyone

Relationships are a funny thing. No matter how hard you try, you may find yourself struggling to connect with certain people. The reasons why are countless: you may come from different professional backgrounds or even live in different places. With years of experience interviewing many different types of people, writer and radio host Celeste headlee offers her perspective on how to have better conversations.

Compassion and the True Meaning of Empathy

What exactly does empathy mean? Some people experience their entire lives without being able to answer this question. Often, humans come to recognize the true value of compassion during some of the toughest moments of their lives. As a zen priest who works with people at the last stage of life in hospice and on death row, Joan Halifax has witnessed many of these experiences firsthand. In this talk, she shares the patterns that she’s seen during life’s most vulnerable moments. Watch this TED talk to see a side to empathy that you may not have ever seen.

Final Thoughts

While these steps may seem simple in theory, they are often challenging in practice. You may be struggling to meet your sales quota for the quarter. You might even feel frustrated with prospects who are struggling to make decisions. It’s these moments that may put your patience to the test—and that’s okay. Remember that empathy is a skill that you can practice, no matter how many years you’ve been in the field as a sales rep.

Empathy is a balancing act, and there’s always room for improvement.

Self-awareness is critical for developing an empathetic backbone. Learn how one sales leader takes self-awareness to the next level here.

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