This episode is part of a 12 days of Christmas read-along of the Selling Like We’re Human book, recorded in 2021.
The book follows a similar concept to what you’re already used to here on the Humane Marketing show with the 7Ps of Humane Marketing and the Marketing Like We’re Human book: we start with the being and then go into the doing.
The 3 parts of the Selling Like We’re Human book are : Being, Knowing and Doing (compared to Rumble, Rise and Resonate of the Marketing Like We’re Human book)
Today I’m reading a small section of Part 2 on KNOWING, Chapter 5 called ‘Know Your People’"The bottom line is that both perspective-taking and empathy are required in Humane Selling. Empathy will help you get into people’s hearts, and perspective-taking gets you into people’s heads." -Sarah Santacroce @sarahsantacroce… Click To Tweet
Excerpt from Selling Like We’re Human, Part 2: KNOWING, Chapter 5: Know Your People
From “People Buy Stuff” to “People Buy People”
As one of the early adopters of LinkedIn consulting, I had to learn that my
skills and even ten-plus years of experience just weren’t enough anymore.
Sure, when I first started offering LinkedIn coaching ten years ago, I was
pretty much the only one with that specialty, at least in Switzerland. But as
time went on and LinkedIn got more and more popular, more competition
and young talent arose from every nook and corner. It was time for me to
have a good look at my UVP as well as my people—the kind of people I
enjoyed working with and who enjoyed working with me!
Because I once and for all realized that I wasn’t just selling LinkedIn coaching,
I was selling myself.
I talk in detail about “finding your people” in the Marketing Like We’re
Human book. I cover topics such as bringing more of you to your marketing
so that it resonates with your people, connecting with them through authentic
stories, and showing them that you care.
In this book, I’d like to focus on the more sales-related aspects: getting into
their heads and knowing their antihero.
Get into Your People’s Heads
Empathy plays an important factor in Humane Marketing and Selling.
Listening deeply and figuring out how people feel gives us a clear advantage
in a sales path that’s not purely transactional. I talk about empathy in the
Marketing Like We’re Human book.
But there’s another skill in selling that’s similar to empathy but has to do more
with people’s heads than their hearts. It’s called perspective-taking.
Perspective-Taking vs. Empathy
Psychologists report data that shows that empathy and perspective-taking
require distinct neural circuits in the brain. Different brain regions can be
distinguished for empathy for negative emotions, empathy for positive
emotions, and Theory of Mind, the expert term for perspective-taking.
While both are crucial, perspective-taking is just as relevant in sales because it
has to do with the capacity to reason and represent others’ intentions, goals,
and motives. As the seller, I am motivated to understand my buyer’s mental
state and intentions, which allows me to make predictions about their actions,
and also to influence these actions.
For example: I’m on a call with a potential client who tells me that she wants
to up-level her business, but right now she’s really struggling, charging
minimum rates and working long hours. I can hear it in her voice that she’s
frustrated and sad, but I also hear some kind of resignation at not knowing
how to change her situation. In this case, I first show empathy: “Been there,
done that, and I hear your pain.” But then I switch over to perspective-taking,
gently pointing out incorrect view on the matter and presenting a new
perspective in an abstract manner. I use my empathy and perspective-taking
not to just come up with a completely unrealistic “magic wand” scenario, but
to help her to step out of her own false belief bubble and draw a new scenario.
If I only show empathy, I might submerge my own interests and not get the
sale. So perspective-taking meets somewhere in the middle to really create
Here’s a list of the main differences between empathy and perspective-taking:
– feelings – thoughts
– sharing someone’s emotional state – taking someone’s perspective
– heart – head
The bottom line is that both perspective-taking and empathy are required in
Humane Selling. Empathy will help you get into people’s hearts, and
perspective-taking gets you into people’s heads.
This is an important concept to understand, especially if you’re a
more “feeling person.” Yes, we need more empathy in our sales
conversations, but that doesn’t mean we only rely on feelings. It’s
the combination of heart AND mind that will give your ideal client
this feeling that they can trust you and want to work with you.
Who’s Your People’s Antihero?
While we’re in people’s heads, let’s dig around a bit longer. Actually, that
sounds a bit gross, but you know what I mean.
What we’re trying to get to is old memories or stories that your clients have stored
in their mind somewhere. And I’m not talking about old romances, but experiences
that have to do with the problem they are trying to solve. Because most people come
to you, with some kind of baggage. They have most likely tried other solutions that
either just didn’t work or, worse, really left them disgusted and disillusioned.
In the example of Humane Marketing, it’s “Bro” or “Hype Marketing.”
That’s my people’s antihero. They are sick and tired of marketers who tell
them to send out four cart-closing e-mails, launch a huge Facebook Ads
campaign, or build a manipulative funnel in ClickFunnels.
If you are a wellness coach, your people’s antihero is probably the “quick
results, six pack in six weeks” type of scam.
If you are a restaurant owner, your ideal client’s memory is full of bad dining
If you are a writing coach, your people may have come across someone that
promised them they’ll have a book written in two months.
If you are a web designer, your people may come to you with a half-done
website and a story in their head that “all web designers are crooks.”
If you are a car salesman . . . You get the picture. 🙂
On the next page I’ll invite you to reflect on your ideal client’s backstory.
Why is it so key to have spent some time reflecting on this? Because it helps
you with perspective-taking—and even empathy—when you know what your
people have tried before without success and are frustrated or angry about.
Because often they don’t tell you these stories, which in their eyes feel like
failures. But if you mention that other clients have come to you for these exact
reasons, they feel an immediate alignment with you and your values.
The Antihero Is Not Always a Person
Maybe your ideal client is just starting out and hasn’t had any bad experiences
yet. But what they have done is shopped around and seen what’s available.
Dina, a web designer, told me that her people are frustrated with the jargon
they see on most of her competitors’ sites. Things like SEO, Google Ads,
ranking. etc. are overwhelming her nature-focused clients. All they want is a
beautiful-looking site and someone who takes care of the rest.
So in Dina’s case, her people’s antihero is the whole industry that keeps
pushing those buzzwords.
So knowing that about your ideal client helps you paint a picture that makes
your client understand that you’re on their side. If you are unsure who your
client’s antihero is, start by listening. You can listen directly while in actual
conversation with your clients, or you can listen indirectly by doing research
on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or on other forums or groups where your
customers are present. Pay close attention whenever you hear or see the words
“rant.” 🙂 That’s when clients give themselves permission to really voice their
opinions about anything they dislike, and often it’s about their antihero.
This concept of the antihero deserves an anchor. It helps you
understand your client better (perspective-taking), and by addressing
this topic, you show that you “get it” and are on the client’s side.
This excerpt is from Part 2: KNOWING, Chapter 5: Know Your People
If what you heard today resonates with you and made you curious about the book, I invite you to get your copy of the new Selling Like You’re Human book at humane.marketing/book2. You can also download the whole 1st chapter for free to see if it resonates.
And I’m also planting a seed about my ‘Marketing Like We’re Human’ program that I’ll run in its live edition starting at the end of January 2022. This is where we take all these concepts from the two books as well as the 7Ps of Humane Marketing to a much much deeper level in an intimate group learning experience. Find out more at www.humane.marketing/program
Get your copy of the ‘Selling Like We’re Human’ book !
Marketing Like We’re Human – Sarah’s first book
Selling Like We’re Human – Sarah’s second book
Email Sarah at email@example.com
Thanks for listening!
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