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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Are you facing a looming empathy gap?

“Empathy is the critical 21st-century skill.” This quote is from Meg Bear, who was then a Group VP for Oracle. It appeared in a June, 2015 Fortune magazine article, written by Geoff Colvin, that was titled Humans are Underrated.

It’s hard to argue with the premise that as selling increasingly becomes automated that the ability to authentically connect with another human being will become more highly valued by both employers and customers.

Yet, in the same article, Colvin discusses the work of researchers who "analyzed 72 studies that measured empathy in about 14,000 college students since 1979 and found a broad decline over time.”

That’s right. At the same moment that having empathy is growing in importance in sales, it appears that successive generations of sellers (boomers, GenX'ers and millennials) possess increasingly diminishing amounts of it.

As Colvin states "As demand for empathy grows, supply shrinks.”
This is a problem. Your ability to understand and share the feelings of your customers is absolutely central to your ability to succeed. This is especially true as you deal with an increasingly diverse set of buyers, who are people you may not actually like or agree with.

What should you do? There are a number of good books available to help you elevate your emotional IQ (EQ.) Jeb Blount’s Sales EQ and Collen Stanley’s Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success are great places to start. 

In the meantime, please spending some time thinking about the following quote from Michele Norris, an American radio journalist.

“If you want to conquer the world, you have to understand it. The concern is that we are losing the ability to actively listen and therefore to engage in deep and meaningful conversation, that as we pull deeper inside ourselves with our headphones and personal devices and timelines full of people we choose to ‘like’ or to ‘follow,’ we put less of a premium on engagement with people we might not like or don’t want to follow.” 

To your greater success,

Peter Mclees, Sales Trainer and Coach
Mobile: 323-854-1713

P. S. Smart Development has an exceptional track record helping sales teams, restaurants, stores, distribution centers, food production facilities, nonprofits, ports and other businesses create a strong culture, leadership bench strength, coaching skills and the teamwork necessary for growth. Having worked with several companies throughout their growth cycle, we have valuable insights and strategies that would help any late stage startup, small or medium sized company achieve sustained growth and prosperity.

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