The power of empathy in sales

For the last decade, I have been in some sort of customer-focused sales role. I started as a telemarketer selling Police Benevolent Memberships to the residents on the Southside of Chicago in a strip mall office. I have been called everything under the sun including, but not limited to, my name. If you are wondering if I ever made a sale the answer is yes. In fact, I was pretty good at it. (This is my application to the bragging camp).

Thinking back to those days in that smoke-filled room, I remember the phones ringing non-stop, people quitting in the background, and people crying because they couldn’t handle the pressure of other people yelling at them. Here I was, young and naïve, pressing the beige corded phone to my ear as hard as I could to barely make out a few words the random stranger who just popped up on the auto-dialer screaming “HELLO” for the second or third time before I was connected to them. They were furious at that point and my chance of getting any sort of donation was probably less than 5%, but it wasn’t zero. It wasn’t zero because I knew how to make a connection. I knew how to have empathy.

Now, as a Business Development Officer for our credit union, I apply these principles to my day-to-day interactions within our local community.

Listed below are some foundational principles and traits that can be utilized daily. The great part about them is that even if someone is not a “natural salesperson” most of us are empathetic and genuinely like helping people. After all, people helping people is kind of how this whole thing started, right?


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