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Tha Art Of Empathy

Oct 15, 2007
Empathy: The ability to identify with and experience the vicarious feelings, thoughts or attitudes of another person.

This can be a huge benefit when we're persuading.

First, an exercise to get into the mindsets of our affluent clientèle. . .

This is about responding to your client or prospect's experiences. In a previous article I wrote about the pink bubble, and how to use that for rapport building. Well, in this exercise, we're going to figuratively experience what they experience.

And when you do this, you build up in your prospects and clients a huge amount of trust. Rapport is right around the corner.

This comes naturally with loved ones--friends, family, spouse--because we know and understand them deeply. By using empathy with your prospects, people you maybe don't know very well, this rapport and insight will come just as naturally.

You're going to need a partner for this, so find someone willing to role play with you.

Here's the exercise: Ask your partner to think of something. Anything. And call it 'A'. As they answer, notice their body, how it's arranged, watch their face, their breathing, their muscle tension, whether they're fidgeting, and take a snapshot in your head of what this looks like. Along with your mental snapshot, say to yourself, 'This is how they represent 'A'.'

Break this state by having them stand up, walk around briefly, and name three things that they can see in the room. . . a coffee cup, photograph, bookshelf. . .etc. This reverts them back to their normal state.

The next step is to have them think of something entirely different--not opposite, just different--and call this thought 'B'.

[NOTE: When you first do this exercise thinking of the opposite may make it easier, but I encourage you to develop your skills and not use something opposite once you've got the hang of it.]

And break the state again.

This is the fun part. Have them think either 'A' or 'B' without telling you which one they're choosing. Which one are they thinking about? You need to figure this out just by looking at them. Which snapshot are you viewing?

Switch roles after a few tries and let them experience what you're thinking. This exercise helps you really know the people you're dealing with.

Of course you're not going to practice this and role play with your prospects. This is an exercise to fine-tune your observation skills and should be done with friends or co-workers.

Eventually you'll be able to recognize the smallest of changes in their states as you talk with them.

And maybe they won't exactly be able to pinpoint the feelings they are getting, but they will feel a connection with you.

What's the point? It's just another way to gain fast and powerful rapport at the same time putting your prospect into a state where they are feeling understood.

You can also use this to determine if someone's lying to you.

If someone explains that their finances are "perfect" but they are slouched or some other physical clue tells you they're being incongruous, this is really a dead giveaway that they don't have an ideal financial picture.

These and other persuasion strategies can be used to help your prospect open up, feel that sense of trust and rapport, and get to the heart of issues so that you can become the answer to their problems if the situation warrants.
About the Author
Kenrick Cleveland teaches techniques to earn the business of affluent clients using persuasion. He runs public and private seminars and offers home study courses and coaching programs in persuasion techniques.
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