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Wendy Marx

Showing empathy is your key to being a successful coach or consultant.

Many coaches and consultants and other service providers think if they flash their credentials, their degrees, their services and techniques, you’ll snap to attention. That that’s their magic sales ticket.

They forget the first rule of selling a service: Start with your customer. Not with you.

You need to win your customer’s trust before you can sell them anything.

  • They need to trust you.
  • They need to like and feel good about what they’re buying.

That is, they need to like and feel good about you.

Consider this: A recent Gartner research survey reported that 83% of consumers won’t buy brands they don’t trust.

I would bet if they surveyed buyers of professional services, that number would be 100%.

Showing empathy in your marketing is a key way to get anyone to trust you.

It demonstrates you get them, you understand what they’re going through and will be there for them.

Here are 3 ways to be more empathetic with your prospects:

Talk about your customers’ challenges.

For example, if you’re a coach to overstressed moms you might explain that you too were once so stressed you didn’t want to meet the day. And then explain how after years of seeking out nearly every solution under the sun, you stumbled on a way to relieve your stress. And now you’re offering it others.

If you’re an executive coach, you might be tempted to say:

Based on my 20 years of HR experience, a Ph.D in organizational psychology and 3 coaching certifications, I help executives climb the corporate ladder.


You’re making it all about you. Not your customer.

Instead, you might try something like:

Are you fed up with being overlooked for your next promotion?

Tired of spinning your wheels without going anywhere?

I know all too well how tough it is for an accomplished executive like you to break out from the pack and get beyond a certain level.


Don’t sell until you know what your customer needs. I’ve been guilty of this myself, going into sales mode before realizing the person I was selling not only had no interest but also was insulted I thought he needed help.

Ask questions and know when to shut up.

Discover what challenges your customer is facing. Ask non-threatening but revealing questions. What is the person confronting this year and hopes to achieve? Give the person space to talk. Don’t interrupt.

Show what you can do.

Show how you can help but do so only if your prospect is receptive. For example, I typically provide a few helpful suggestions to prospects about ways to make their LinkedIn profile more engaging. I first ask someone if they’d like a few tips. My suggestions, which are offered as helpful, not critical, are appreciated.

Are you taking the time to look through someone else’s eyes?

How are you doing that? Share in the comments.

This post appeared in a slightly different format on LinkedIn.

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Wendy Marx

Wendy Marx

Wendy Marx, author, coach and marketing and branding authority is the founder of Thriving at 50 Plus, a coaching program that helps baby boomers find more purpose and meaning in life. Wendy over the last 30 years has helped many business owners and executives become well-known, going from Anonymity to Industry Icon™. Her business articles have appeared in The New York Times, InformationWeek, Inc., Advertising Age, & Fast Company, among other outlets.

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