On to the second simple thing to do to make a warm and enduring impression. Let’s go a step further than listening.
How do you -especially busy ‘you’- respond when a friend or relative tells you about something bothering them? Do you immediately consider your loved one’s special circumstances or personality as you try to discern why this issue gets to them the way it does? My guess is probably not. Mostly likely your first thought is about why it wouldn’t bother you at all. Or worse, you might just be dying to tell them about the time something bigger and more annoying happened to you.
To empathize is to take yourself out of the equation and see the problem through their eyes. We’ve all heard before that we should learn to walk in another’s shoes, but it is more than just cliché. We’ve all laughed at how a woman might say, “Well if you don’t know what’s wrong, I’m not going to tell you”. Maybe you’ve been the one to say it. That, folks, as ridiculous as it sounds, is a plea for empathy. It means “if you won’t take the time to try to see things from my point of view, there’s no sense in trying to explain further.” It means "Hey Dumb Ass, take a closer look at the details and tell me what you see!"
How does this apply to client or prospective client relationships? To answer that, I want you to imagine you are walking into an investments management office for the first time. You’re smart about many things, but you’ve never invested before. You have no idea where to begin.
Now, imagine being greeted by the firm’s oldest and most gifted investor. She really knows the market, perhaps better than anyone. Unfortunately, she has grown tired of muttering her sales pitch. Somehow, in her mind, she feels as though everyone must surely know it by now. Every educated person on the planet must know how this works.
When this portfolio manager hasn’t got the time, it seems, to explain things to you what will her wealth of experience matter to you in that moment? Will you care if she’s the best? Will you feel comfortable believing in her abilities since you don’t know what the best should even look like? Maybe not.
Showing empathy is as simple as remembering that the new person walking in your door may not know anything about what you do, who you are, or how you could help them. Assuming they know the deal is foolish and could be a truly costly mistake. Inversely, think on the good you’ll do for both of you when you not only hear their words but can empathize with their position!
Thank you for reading this. Please tell me about your experiences on this topic in the comments section below!