Empathy: what it is, how to develop yours and real examples in the professional field

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Psychologically, empathy is the ability to feel what another person feels if you were in the same situation experienced by them, that is, to try to objectively and rationally experience what the other person feels in order to try to understand feelings and emotions.

Why are some companies more successful than others? You must have asked yourself this at some point. The answer may seem cliché, but the truth is that companies that invest in empathy with their customers come out ahead because they genuinely care.

A good dose of empathy can be the difference between the success and failure of your customer’s experience with your company. But how can empathy be an indispensable ingredient in the result of your business?

Empathy is basically feeling with the person. And it is a powerful force, which can decide a negotiation. To understand better, keep reading! 😉

Download an Empathy Map Template here

The empathy map is a resource that serves to draw the profile of your ideal customer based on their feelings. Download the template and create your own!

What is empathy?

Psychologically, empathy is the ability to feel what another person feels if you were in the same situation experienced by them, that is, to try to objectively and rationally experience what the other person feels in order to try to understand feelings and emotions.

Empathy brings connection while sympathy brings disconnection. The four main characteristics of empathy are:

  1. Perspective taking—that is, the ability to take other people’s perspectives as truth;
  2. Don’t judge;
  3. Recognize emotions in other people;
  4. To be able to pass on this information, to communicate.

Furthermore, empathy is a vulnerable choice since, in order to connect with what another person feels, a person needs to connect with something in himself that already knows that feeling.

An empathic response almost never starts with “at least”. For example, if you say “I lost a baby” and the other person responds “at least you know you can get pregnant”, that person is not being empathetic. She’s not connecting with the feeling that exists within your sentence and putting herself on your side.

When you use empathy, even if you don’t have an answer, just listening and putting yourself in the person’s shoes a connection is formed.

How to improve your empathy?

Empathy is the bond that unites us as a society. Neuroscience has already proven that we are all empaths by nature, we are made to live in structured societies. We are born with brain structures, processes and connections that exist so we can connect and express empathy.

Imagine a little paper cut on the skin of your hand. Now, imagine that a drop of lemon looks good on that cut. I bet you, reader, screwed up your facial expression a little while reading this. This is a clear demonstration that we are all empaths.

The same happens when we yawn when we see someone yawn. It is because we can imitate that we can be empathetic. This is caused by the system of mirror neurons, which have the function of reproducing in our brain whatever we see in the other. From an action to an emotion.

In addition, neuroscience has proven that we can exercise empathy. Our brain is plastic, it adapts to any stimulus we make. It can create new neural routes, that is, it is possible to make empathy a more natural process every day and use this to your advantage in negotiations.

Empathy in the professional field

And, after all, what is the importance of being empathetic? First, empathy helps us to have more meaningful relationships with the people around us, from friends to potential customers. Furthermore, empathy is considered one of the key competencies of the leadership of the future as it helps to look at a problem from many different points of view.

In negotiations, empathy can be considered a very effective weapon. When you put yourself on their side, they feel in a more comfortable position, away from strong emotions where they wouldn’t hear you, and understand more clearly that you are both looking for the best deal.

Furthermore, this empathetic positioning is well regarded by the other side, which improves the relationship between prospect and seller. A good relationship is the key to a good business.

But attention: Being empathetic doesn’t mean agreeing with your prospect. It is important to remain firm and assertive, but at the same time listen and seek to understand the pain of the other. You don’t need to have the same opinion as the other person to be able to understand them.

>> Read more: How to charge a customer: what you need to know to guarantee payments and not ruin the relationship

Tips to have more empathy in negotiations and calls

We know that using empathy at all times is not easy, but with practice and paying attention to some points, such as those described below, it becomes more and more natural.

Tip 1: Focus your attention on listening

As with any negotiation, it’s important to prepare. Empathy happens when we listen carefully to the prospect’s questions, rather than taking the time to think about possible answers. Slow down, take time to genuinely listen to the other person’s speech. Listening will help you expand your own opinion.

The important thing is to be completely there, present, listening. What the other says is important for him and for you too, since the better the situation is understood, the more easily it is resolved together.

Tip 2: After listening, ask

Asking shows that your attention was focused on what the other was saying, shows interest in better understanding the other’s problems. Try to understand the emotional state and motivations behind the other person’s responses.

Ask with the curiosity of someone who wants to put themselves on the other side of the path to solving these problems. Curiosity about the other is an important step in expanding your empathy.

>> Read more: Assertive communication: what it is, importance and tips to put it into practice

Tip 3: Confirm your understanding

One of the best ways to confirm that you understand the information correctly and completely is to paraphrase the prospect. Putting what he/she said in your words demonstrates that you heard and were interested in it.

Tip 4: Remember: Empathy Doesn’t Mean Solving Others’ Problems

When we think the best way to be empathetic is to give advice, we are wrong. If the person needs advice, they will ask, as they are already in a comfortable position after being listened to and understood.

The fact of understanding, being interested, listening to the prospect’s problem carefully already improves interpersonal relationships a lot.

Find out more: watch below an interview with Liliane Ferrari about Humanized Marketing, during the RD Summit Live Show (she is not the one that appears in the thumb, but you can click that goes straight to the conversation 😉)

Real examples: how we do it in RD

Let’s think about the case of Resultados Digitais, specifically in the area of ​​Implementation, where we have teams responsible for managing and helping customers to use RD Station Marketing to ensure their first success.

Customers who purchase the tool somehow want Inbound Marketing to help them sell even more. This is the expected result. For the client to achieve this goal, he needs to devise some strategies, test if they work, combine Landing Pages with Email Marketing, pop-ups and forms… This is exactly where our indispensable ingredient comes in: empathy.

Imagine if the Results Digitais Implementation team used the same strategies for all customers that come to us. Can you imagine? We would have thousands of sites with the same offers, the same pop-ups, all the same and nothing new.

Your company is unique, you are unique, your strategy needs to be unique too. This is when Implementation managers put themselves in the customer’s shoes, feel their pain, put their shirts on and help choose the ingredients that will be essential for success.

The opposite exercise

Think about your business, how it is offered, the way it is delivered to your customers.

Now do the opposite exercise, you being the customer of your own company. How would you like your experience to be during the purchase, how would you like to receive what was offered, the service you would like to obtain…

To further exemplify, think that you found it difficult to use RD Station Marketing and sent your question by email to your Implementation manager.

He can answer:

“Hello, to perform such an activity you can go to the screen Xclick the Y function, configure Z”.

Or, it can give the following return:

“Hello Customer, I will help you with this issue! I myself, when I started using the software, had the same difficulty, I understand perfectly! To perform the activity successfully go to the screen X, then click on the Y function and to finish click on configure Z. If you still have doubts, let me know and I’ll call you. ;)”.

In both cases the person helped to solve the customer’s problem, however, in the second response there was empathy, the Implementation manager put himself in the customer’s shoes, showed genuine interest in helping.

And how does that help you achieve your success?

  • Happy customers become loyal customers;
  • Happy customers tell others about their experience with companies;
  • You come to better understand your customer and what he wants;
  • Your company starts to stand out from the competitors;
  • Your success becomes your customer’s success too..

How important is empathy?

Empathy is one of the pillars of emotional intelligence and using it as a way to improve relationships in negotiations is essential. Taking time to observe and understand each other is the first step in developing your empathy.

By applying empathy it is possible to better understand people’s behavior and their needs. Consequently, a relationship of trust is established, which results in a situation much more likely to succeed in a negotiation for both parties!

To learn more, check out our “Complete Guide to Building Customer Loyalty with Digital Marketing”. Just fill in the form below and login. Good reading! 😄

Complete guide to retaining customers with Digital Marketing

More important than acquiring new customers is retaining the ones you already have. So learn how to create brand lovers with this complete guide!

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is empathy?

Empathy is a person’s ability to feel and put themselves in someone else’s shoes, as if they were experiencing the same situation. From empathy it is possible to understand the feelings and emotions of the other.

How to improve your empathy?

Neuroscience has proven that we can exercise empathy. Our brain is plastic, it adapts to any stimulus we make. It can create new neural routes, that is, it is possible to make empathy a more natural process every day.

How important is empathy?

Empathy is important to better understand people’s behavior and also their needs. Through empathy we can develop a relationship of trust between both parties.

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