Sales is evolving. The days of fast-talking, railroading salespeople is gone. Today’s buyers won’t stand for being bullied into a deal.
That’s where the empathy statement comes in. If your idea of empathy is throwing an “uh-huh” or “I see” into your conversations every few minutes, think again.
Below, I’ve rounded up a few empathetic statements every salesperson should use. They’ll show your prospects you’re more invested in their interests than closing a deal — and that’s what will set you apart in today’s competitive sales landscape.
1) “Thank you for staying so positive.”
Every deal has ups and downs. Your prospect may work with someone who’s championing another company. Or their budget may have been reallocated, leaving them struggling to cover the price of your product/service.
When these situations arise, thank your prospect for staying positive — even if they’re having a hard time doing so. They’ll appreciate you’ve noticed the difficult position they’re in, and you’ll encourage them to continue dealing with it constructively.
2) “You’ve been with [Company] for [# of years]. That’s a long time.”
Leaving a longtime vendor relationship can be tough. Show your prospect you understand and are honored to be considered as a replacement. You can also use this approach when their tenure with another company is only a few months.
Say something like, “You’ve been with [Company] for [# of months]. I know you’re not shopping again because you love talking to salespeople. Tell me more about what prompted this search for a new product/service.”
If they’re looking for a new vendor so soon, your prospect is probably dealing with some fallout on their end, so a little humor will be appreciated before you get serious about what their needs are.
3) “If I were in your position, I bet I’d have the same concerns.”
It can be tough to stay positive when you hear the same objections repeatedly or are hearing your fifth objection of the day. But step into your prospect’s shoes for a moment.
Remember they’re considering your product/service for the first time, and show them you understand where they’re coming from. By validating their concerns before giving a well-worn rebuttal or solution, you’ll build trust and rapport.
4) “That would be frustrating to me too.”
If your prospect is frustrated with your product/service or with the sales process itself, start by understanding where they’re coming from. Validate their frustration before telling them what you’re going to do about it.
For example, if your product experienced a bug during the prospect’s free trial and they’re frustrated about it, respond with, “That would frustrate me too. (Pause) Let me tell you why this happened and what we’re doing to make sure it never happens again.”
5) “I think you might find [feature, offer, or content] helpful in this situation.”
When your prospect is facing a roadblock — in their work, with your product/service, or in the sales process — don’t just be empathetic, offer a solution.
For example, if your prospect is expressing concern that a competitor offers a feature you don’t, reply with, “You’re right, we don’t have X feature. But I think you might find Y feature serves a similar purpose and also does A, B, and C. A lot of our customers prefer Y feature over [competitor]’s X feature.”
You’ve affirmed that your prospect is right, and you’ve presented a solution. Avoid the temptation to get defensive and lash out with, “Well actually our Y feature does pretty much the same thing as their X feature, and our clients think it’s way better.”
6) “If I can make a suggestion …”
When you’ve been selling for a few years and hear similar objections and feedback every day, it’s easy to steamroll ahead of client concerns with solutions or canned replies.
Before you share that response you’ve given 50 times this
week, pause and say, “Uh-huh, that’s a great point. If I can make a suggestion, you might find this article on our blog helpful. I’ll send it to you after our call.”
Your response instantly feels personalized to their concerns and you’ve shown that you really listened to their question.
7) “How can I make this process easier for you?”
This is a question you should be asking at every stage of the sales process.
Close your discovery call with it, ask it in your presentation, and make sure to include it as you’re working on the contract.
Buying a product/service is usually a lengthy, time-consuming, and expensive process. Do everything you can to make your prospect feel supported through it all.
8) “What’s the best-case scenario for your company?”
This is a great question to ask in the discovery call. When you’re determining your prospect’s needs, wants, and business goals, slip this question in. It demonstrates you’re thinking about long-term success for their company beyond meeting two or three key needs.
9) “How am I doing so far? Am I meeting your needs?”
This is another question to ask often throughout the sales process. Once you finish making a key point about what sets your service apart from the competition or demonstrating a technical portion of your product, pause and check in with your prospect to make sure they’re following.
To really make this question impactful, also ask them if you’re providing value to them. It’ll surprise and delight your prospect and serve as an indicator of success for you.
10) “Is our product/service meeting your needs so far?”
The most important goal of selling is to ensure that your product/service is going to meet your prospect’s needs. Throughout the sales process, say to your prospect, “I’ve given you a lot of information about Harvey’s Moving Company. Are we still ticking off all the boxes for you? Are there any gaps?”
This protects you from being blindsided by their concerns later in the process, and it ensures your offering is still giving your prospect what they require.
11) “So, if I’m hearing you correctly, you’re saying …”
You should work this phrase into every conversation you have with a prospect. Too often, salespeople hear important questions, assume they’ve understood, and forge ahead with an answer that may or may not be giving your prospect the information they need.
Don’t risk alienating your prospect or making them feel unheard. Instead, clarify their question with, “So what I’m hearing is this: [Restate their question]. Is that correct?“
12) “I can help with that.”
Show you’re ready and willing to help when your prospect needs it most. If they have a question about the block of customer service hours they’re allotted each month, or if they’re having trouble logging into your product during their trial, reply with a friendly, “I can help with that.”
Even if you have to take their question or issue to someone else on your team, you should remain their advocate and main point of contact. This ensures they get the answers they need quickly and offers them a sneak peek of the customer service they can look forward to with your company.
13) “Hold on one second while I check that for you.”
Does your prospect have a problem you can help them with immediately?
Let them know that. If a prospect says they can’t find the complete list of tiered service packages you sent, tell them, “Hold on one second while I send another link right over.” If you can assist them in the moment, do it. Your attentiveness and sense of urgency will stand out.
14) “I really want to help here. Do you mind if I ask you a few more questions?”
You’ve probably been in this scenario: A prospect asks you a question and you either don’t know the answer or don’t quite understand what their question is.
Instead of saying “I don’t understand” or “I’m not following,” tell them “I really want to help here. Can I ask you a few more questions about the problem you’re facing?” Your prospect will feel heard, and you’ll feel relieved when you finally understand what they’re asking.
15) “If I skip anything important, please stop me and let me know.”
Prospects can feel uncomfortable or rude interrupting to say they don’t understand or you’re not answering their question.
To save you both time and discomfort, set expectations before you begin a phone conversation or in-person demonstration. Let them know their interruptions are welcome and encouraged, and you’ll enjoy an open and honest conversation with your prospect.
16) “Here’s what I’m going to do to get this answer for you.”
There are some situations in which it might take days or even weeks to find an answer to a prospect’s question. In these situations, clearly communicate what you’re doing to get them the information they’ve asked for.
End your initial conversation with, “Here are the steps I’m going to take to find an answer for you.” Then, check in every few days with an update of: “Here’s what I’ve been doing to find an answer to your question about our update timeline for X feature.”
You’ll appear organized and on top of things. And you’ll let the customer know their question is a priority.
17) “I’m glad to hear that.”
When a prospect expresses that either you or your product/service is doing something right it’s easy to humbly say “Thanks” and quickly move the conversation along.
Stop and acknowledge the praise they’ve given you with “I’m glad to hear that” or “I’m so glad we’ve met X need with Y service.” You want to make your prospect feel heard and acknowledged, and that doesn’t stop when they’re complimenting you.
18) “Thanks for giving me a moment of your time, [name].”
You already know your prospect’s time is valuable, so don’t forget to thank them for it. Instead of closing with “I’ll be in touch” or “I’ll follow up with an email of next steps,” make sure the last thing you say to your prospect is how thankful you are for the valuable time they’ve given you.
To move a deal forward you have to create an emotional connection with your prospect. One of the easiest ways to build that connection is with empathy statements. Try a few in your next call or meeting, and see what they do to forge stronger bonds.
Authored by Meg Prater