Love in sales may sound strange, but it’s surprisingly relevant! Love is the most profound emotional state that we experience as humans. While researching emotional intelligence and its influence in sales, I learned that empathy is king. How can we increase our empathy? At the risk of sounding corny and fluffy, I want to suggest that learning how to love others is key.
The problem is, in English we only have one word for “love.” When I say “I love ice cream” or “I love my wife,” there is no literary distinction. We know there is a difference, but we don’t have the vocabulary to support it. In ancient Greek, they had 6 different words for our one word for “love.” The one I want to focus on is “Agape” (pronounced ag-ah-pay), or selfless love.
Love in Sales: A New Word for “Love”
Agape is the type of love that seeks to give without expectation of return. For example, we express Agape when we care for a loved one when they are unwell. This should be our attitude in sales and business. In the initial prospecting stage, we give insights and our time knowing full well that they may not buy from us. When a client is angry, we go out of our way to satisfy them even when there is no immediate financial reward.
Love in Sales: What if I’m Not the Touchy-Feely Type?
Agape is not a feeling, but a verb. In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steve Covey wrote about one man who sought his help with his troubled marriage. Steve’s suggestion was to love her, but the man retorted “But we just don’t love each other anymore!” Steve more emphatically advised “Then love her! You see, love is not a feeling, it’s a verb!”
In his book Thou Shall Prosper, Rabbi Daniel Lapin observed that we also tend to feel love for those that we care for. He explains that parents tend to love their children more than the other way around because of the enormous sacrifice required to rear them. The more we serve and care for our clients and colleagues, the more we will build mutual loyalty and (platonic) affection.
Love in Sales: Love Your Enemies
Anyone can love a friend, but loving your enemies is something else! At times our relationship with clients (and significant other!) can feel adversarial, but if we are going to differentiate ourselves from our competitors, practicing Agape becomes very practical. Even if you are selling a commodity, you can “out-care” your competition through this attitude!
Agape is the foundation of empathy. Without a genuine concern for the well-being for our prospects and clients, we will be unable to build the trust necessary for a long-term business relationship. If we redefine the way we think about love from a feeling to a verb, we can even love people that we don’t like. Doing so will make you profoundly different to your competitors and a better human being!
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