Whether you’re selling information products, small business services, real estate or widgets, there is one skill you need above all others to increase your sales. It’s not a better autoresponder series. It’s not the most competitive price. It’s not even the best product.
What you need is empathy, the ability to step into your prospects’ lives and see and experience what they’re feeling. True empathy does more than just guess or project what you want them to feel; it acknowledges who and where they are in their own individual lives.
Get Into Your Prospect’s Mind
The easiest way to get into your prospect’s mind is to ask him questions. What does he think about the world? How do his emotions affect his actions? What are his goals and aspirations? What’s his life actually like?
It takes a very good friend to go that deep, so you’ll have to ask less invasive questions until you establish a solid friendship. Empathy is even harder to develop if you’re working entirely online and don’t see or have a dialog with customers. Email and landing pages are often a one-way street, but they shouldn’t be.
Put yourself in your reader’s shoes and approach your product/service/writing from his angle. You will see yourself differently. Walk through your process and identify where it could be easier for the reader. Empathize with his wants and needs. Increase clarity and eliminate distraction.
Avoid Hot Buttons
Copywriting gurus preach hot buttons, those painful triggers that get prospects to act immediately. There’s a place for hot buttons in your communications, but they shouldn’t be the sole focus of your interaction with customers.
Instead, draw prospects in with your kindness, respect, intelligence, and empathy. You can address every anxiety, frustration, and trigger through empathy and stop beating your prospect over the head with his failures and shortcomings.
Nobody wants to be poked in the eye with flashing copy, huge colored words, and exclamation points!!!! Your prospect will scream and run away in eight seconds flat. Likewise with words such as extremely, hot, limited time, deal, must, act now. Unless your prospect is actually on fire, she’s not having the same emergency as your copy.
The empathetic approach understands what led the prospect to your landing page, email, or article. She didn’t just randomly click a hyperlink and stumble upon you (probably). You can’t create urgency where none existed before the page view. Acknowledge where she came from and make it clear she landed in the right spot.
Become a Trusted Advisor, Not an Expert
Being called an expert no longer has the same punch. Everyone on the Internet is an expert, so that means nobody is an expert. When you empathize with your reader or prospect, you aim to be an advisor and knowledgeable friend.
Approach the reader from a sharing viewpoint. You share your knowledge and expect him to share his with you in an exchange. You’re not above him; you’re beside him walking through a teaching experience. You are trustworthy, so he trusts you.
Admit your own shortcomings once in a while and you will seem genuine. If your product or service or copywriting helped you overcome failure, tell your prospect that. You’re in this together-you just happen to know a little more than he does.
Develop Empathy and Your Sales Will Increase
Get to know your customers and readers. Ask questions and share responses and ask more questions. Calm down your enthusiasm and urgency-unless you really are a crazy person who shouts in real life. Be genuine and human and courteous and knowledgeable.
Always approach your copy from the prospect’s perspective. Believe what he or she believes, just for a little while. Have the same goals and objectives, the same feelings and desires. Your product or service fits into a real life. If it doesn’t, why are you trying to sell it?