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Marketing Secret #30 Building Relationships based on Empathy and Trust

Would you agree that people are sceptical of any salesperson, business owner or professional?

And, would you agree that this scepticism is part of the marketing problems we all face?

If you agree, you are on the right track.  There are many forces that have created a level of scepticism out there, unparalleled in our time.

Let’s look at life from a prospect’s mind for a second.


What disaster should I start with?  The lying leaders who run our country?  The failed financial institutions?  How about the hypocritical religious leaders who have landed in jail?  Oh yes, should we forget all the household companies that are now bankrupt?  The lousy economy?

I guess we shouldn’t leave that out.

There is so much more we could say.

The reality in the new millennium is that no one believes in anything the way they used to!  They are sceptical as hell.  (By the way, the definition of sceptical as per the Cambridge Dictionary, doubting that something is true or useful.”)

Does this describe your prospects?

If they are coming to already with doubt and anxiety about you, what does this do to your prospects’ psychology?

Well, let’s look at their psychology to see what’s in there.

I think, they still want something very important to them. They want someone who truly cares about them.  Who has empathy for them.  Who has compassion for them.  Who wants to make their life better.

So, if they want this very badly, and they don’t believe anything anymore, how do we bridge this gap?

Let’s take a look at some sure-fire scepticism beaters?

  1. Avoid going for the kill too soon

I still see and hear this all the time!  Yes, even from some of my clients.  “So, Mr XX, I would like to stop by and present my ideas on how I can help you with your carpet cleaning needs.  You should learn how a professional cleaner would help you do what you can’t do yourself.  Would Friday at seven, or Sunday …”

Yes, believe it or not, there are still people doing this crappy stuff.

Now, let’s think about it for a second.  You pick up the phone and same sales person or realtor says he would like to come over and tell you that you are stupid for trying to buy something by yourself or sell your house on your own.  Like you need him for your own good.  You may have no interest in who the hell he is, what he’s like or why he needs to talk with you.  What you hear is, someone trying to make a buck off you.  Do you think this may breed scepticism???

If you are going to cold call, you sure better take the time to build a slow and steady empathic connection with your prospect.  Take the time to let them see you are genuinely interested in them, before you ask for the sale!

There is a right time to go for what you want.  It comes around when the person’s defences have been removed because you were careful not to rush them.  Let’s face it, the new millennium is characterised by concern for relationships.

And yes, relationships can AND do occur when prospecting.  A relationship starts through your initiative, and it only has a chance to continue if you show people you have walked a mile in their shoes.  That you are truly interested in them.

In case you need another example:

You meet a person of the opposite sex that you are attracted to (A Prospect).  You start a conversation that goes something like this: “Would you like to go to bed with me?  I am a great lover and I’ll be the best lover you ever saw.  So, let’s hit the bedroom.”

How do you think you would go???  Would you hit the home run!  More than likely you would be slapped or at the very least, rebuffed.  Every prospect will be more than a little sceptical about your claims at this point in the relationship.

If however you are tempted then try something like this: “Hi there.  Tell me about what you care about.  I am real interested in how you …” (Are your chances of getting where you want a little better?)

Which brings me to the next point.

  1. Avoid making claims

Everybody and I mean everybody, hates claims.  You know, a claim is some sort of statement that tells the listener that;

Your Whatever Is The Best Whatever, And That You Are The Best Person To Deliver The Best Whatever, Because Your Company Is Best At Making The Best Whatever, Because It Has More Experience And It Has A Bigger Office!

Or in other words, the stuff we all have and do say.

Believe me when I tell you, though, that this stuff falls on the deafest ears this side of Government!!

Read my type: No one is listening and no one cares!

A quick story (you know how much I love stories) … I was on hold, returning a call from a client and while on hold, I received a recorded message from a woman’s voice saying: “We have the most experienced advisors for all your borrowing needs.  To be that good we must be doing something right.  To learn more talk to your XXX representative to see how we …”

I was floored!  Here is a rather large and well known company in its industry and all they can come up with from their horrendously overpaid marketing team is this drivel!

Yet, they pound into their people that this claim is the catalyst for responses.  And worse, that if you only know how to tell the story to enough people, they will be shooting each other to get into their office for their service.  Simply amazing!

Now, what is really happening, is that these claims, on the rare occasions that somebody even pays attention to them, create these thoughts:

  1. To get that much money, they must be stealing from the poor or cutting deals with gangsters
  2. They must be ripping their customers off to get that big
  3. They must have the Government in their pockets

Etc., etc., etc.,

In other words, “You guys don’t impress me for _____!  I don’t want to hear how good you are.  I don’t want to listen to some more phoney-baloney hype.  I want, well, I want you  to, to, to …”


What a concept!

See, if your prospective client/customer/patient sense a true desire in you to want to help them, they will be very likely to keep talking.  If you pound your chest and brag about yourself and your company, they get nauseous.

Are you guys getting this?

  1. Don’t talk about it, show it!

This is basically, “I’m from New Zealand, so don’t tell me, show me!”  An example:

In a postcard to a homeowner, the typical airconditioning guy says “We have worked with hundreds of homeowners like yourself, and we know you need to act right now…”

(AAGGGHH here we go again, bragging, bragging and more bragging)

Instead, what if you came to a prospect and said something like, “… Are you really sure you want to get a new air conditioner right now?  I’d hate to have you make a decision in haste.  Don’t you think you’d be better off waiting a while and sleeping on it?  I know how worried you are, but a new air conditioner is a really big decision.  You’ve got the kids, your other bills and everything else to consider.  How about if I call you in a couple of days, and see if you feel the same way?”

Anyway, you get the idea.  We are not telling the prospect we understand them, and care about them more than ourselves… We are showing them!

Any client/customer/patient would immediately know that you have been there.  That you know exactly what their life is like.  That you would have a deep sense of empathy.  That you are one with them.  That you are into their psychology.

Now, when you communicate empathy for their life, do you really need to start bragging?  Haven’t you beat all the scepticism away?  Aren’t you proving your case without displaying all your credentials?

If you’ve entered into someone’s life the right way, they couldn’t care less about your grade point average, or all your years of providing the highest level of integrity, trust and service.  Or, your company’s 1000 year old reputation for being the best.  No, they couldn’t care less.

Talk is cheap.  And everybody is so busy laying out all the cheap talk, they are missing the invaluable success that comes from having empathy.

  1. Get testimonials and references

Another way to show people what you can do for them is to have other satisfied clients/customers/patients tell them for you.  Either in writing or on the phone.  People will be much less sceptical if they see that other folks have found you, in fact to be the legend you are in your own mind!

The very best testimonials to overcome scepticism are the ones that say how they didn’t believe you at first, and were so pleasantly surprised after they used you.  By agreeing with the prospects’ natural scepticism – and then blowing it away – the whole thing becomes much more believable and real!

There isn’t a lot more to say about this, except that I know many of you do not do these things, so START! TODAY!

  1. There’s comfort in crowds

I know some of you have relied on things like clients/customers/patient dinners or appreciation days etc.  these are events that bring groups to you, with referrals in hand.  Think of the beauty of having a referral come to a function, seeing a whole bunch of happy campers.  The “safety in numbers” syndrome will alleviate all of the scepticism they may have brought with them, I assure you.  People will correctly assume that if all these others like you, then you must be legit.

  1. Get the objection out of the way, right away

There is a very common, but erroneous, assumption in marketing that you should never bring up anything that’s negative.  That you must always be “perfect”.  Well I’ve got some bad news for you.  You aren’t and your prospects know it.

Therefore, one of the best things to do in any marketing piece is to admit your faults and explain why they will not be a problem.  Let’s look at an example:

The “professional” thing to say about an independent, smaller company is usually, “We offer the highest level professional service, in a personal way.”

Instead, how about admitting that being small has some drawbacks, but that the benefits outweigh the weaknesses?  Like, “Yes we are small and we might not have the resources of a huge company, but we can look at the very small tasks, while taking care of you in a personal way that no big company could ever do!”

See the difference?  By admitting your fault, you make prospects feel that you are legitimate, and not full of typical hot air.  Do you think this type of admission will help you reduce scepticism?  I don’t think it does; I know it does!

The same idea applies to telling people you won’t be trying to sell them anything at the first meeting and then keeping your promise!  If they still have doubts when they come in, if you do the psychological interview the right way, you will have wiped any scepticism right off the brain!

Remember, in order to keep scepticism out of the way, you cannot start selling at the first meeting.  You cannot!  I still hear from some of you how prospects say, “I just want to buy for the lowest price, so whad’ya gonna do for me?”  And of course, a salesperson can’t stop and say, “Let’s talk about your overall situation first, before we discuss any specific ideas.”

No, the salesperson or business owner starts selling and blows the whole deal.  People will just listen to the pitch.  And since you haven’t done squat to alleviate scepticism that you’re nothing more than just another salesperson, the prospects will also do the usual shopping, delaying and time wasting.

Now on the other hand, if you prove to them you are NOT a salesperson, they will have revised their mental impression of you and put you in the believable category.

This is very important, because believability equals trust.  And trust equals money.

  1. Give people a guarantee

When a person is on the fence, a guarantee can do the trick.

Now you are probably wondering, “What happens if you guarantee results, people will take your ideas and suggestions and then run and do business with someone else!”

This is highly possible, however experience has taught me that it very rarely happens and here is why.  Most people who turn to you for help are not looking to rip you off.  And even if they were, the small amount of trouble is overcome by all the fence sitters who did business with you because of a guarantee.  If you are willing to back up your product or service 100% and tell people they have nothing to lose, you will eliminate scepticism big time.  I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people say to me, “I really wasn’t sure about you, but now I am very happy I made the decision to go with you!”

Guarantees may sound hokey, but they work like crazy!

I hope this little discussion will improve your prospecting by tearing away the sceptic that lives inside each one of us.  Keep in mind, you still probably have a level of scepticism right now, but at least you’ll know about empathy.

There is nothing more powerful than demonstrating genuine empathy.  Nothing.  People are always attracted to others who empathise with them and their lives.

Why not make things easy and show empathy?  By the way, the ads and FREE reports you will now be using are great empathy builders!

They show you want to help and want to share information people interested in.

Without all the sales B.S. they really do penetrate the scepticism barrier.

See if you can think of other ways to build empathy, and then see if you can keep track of all your new sales (and profits)!


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