Don't Fake An Orgasm
When you think of the movie, When Harry Met Sally, what’s the scene that immediately comes to mind? You got it. It’s the scene in the diner when Meg Ryan simulates faking an orgasm with her loud and convincing moans, as Billy Crystal and other patrons look on in disbelief. There’s an equivalent to “faking an orgasm” in the world of sales. Are you guilty?
Today, the most commonly used sales approach is consultative selling. It goes by many names, but the practices are largely the same. One of the tenets of consultative selling is to “show empathy” with your prospects. A typical application would be to say “I understand where you’re coming from” in response to something your prospect says. This is commonly done when the prospect voices a concern or objection.
Nine out of ten times, the salesperson will continue his response of “I understand…” with a “but” or he will say something later in the conversation that clearly demonstrates that he did not “understand” at all. It was just a ploy to cozy up to the prospect.
The problem with faking empathy is the same problem with faking an orgasm, it seems to work in the moment but no one gets satisfied in the end. In fact, you will damage the relationship in the long-run by your deceitful ways. And when the other party finds out you have been faking it, and eventually he will, you will lose his trust.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that there is anything wrong with empathy. Genuine empathy is an essential trait of a great salesperson. You should have it. At the same time, you want to have the right amount of empathy, not too much or too little. So how do you know how much is enough?
While it is hard to measure on your own, you can get a sense of whether you have the right amount of empathy by how your interactions with prospects and clients typically develop. Are your opinions and recommendations sought out? Are you treated like a trusted advisor? Or do you find that you’re not getting the opportunities that you think you deserve?
Your empathy should be in balance with another important characteristic, self-regard. If the two traits are out of sync, it can lead to problems interacting with others. High levels of empathy and low self-regard leads to being overlooked and undervalued. While low empathy and high self-regard can lead to a pushy, know-it-all persona that turns others off. When you have a healthy balance of empathy and self-regard, you attract others and are viewed as a confident but caring individual who gives balanced and appropriate counsel.
You appear authentic and genuine because you are. You don’t have to fake anything, which means you don’t have to be a fake.