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Selling or Effective Influence - Connecting Through Empathy

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Selling or Effective Influence - Connecting Through Empathy

“The first sale is to yourself.”– Alan Weiss

Many of my executive coaching and leadership development clients in law and accountancy firms as well as other industries are not comfortable selling their services. Our conversations on marketing and selling often revolve around developing self-confidence based on a belief of high self worth and adding value.

Frequently we focus our conversations on developing listening skills and empathy for current and potential customers. Interestingly, we often discuss creating a mindset that people at work are also customers broadly defined.

Internal referrals are cultivated by developing relationships based on trust and mutual respect. Ultimately, great sales conversations focus on value and improving a client’s condition.

Connecting Through Empathy

Empathy allows us to understand others’ feelings, thoughts and experiences. Customers must sense that you care about them and their needs.

Studies show, however, that our sense of empathy is eroding. The Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan has collected data for more than 30 years, and researchers have found that young adults are 40 percent less empathetic than their counterparts in 1979. The ability to empathize dropped steeply in 2000, and narcissism rates have skyrocketed.

Many experts speculate that these trends can be attributedto increases in Internet usage, texting, and cell-phone and computer ubiquity. Regardless of the cause, the solution lies in regaining empathy.

Selling or Effective influencing Tips

• Summary of Dan Pink’s “To Sell is Human” with applications to fast-paced growing business organizations

Selling or effective influence is required by all of us to achieve business success. Instead of the traditional ABC’s of selling (Always Be Closing), Dan has established new ABC’s: Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity. “To Sell is Human” is based on his numerous interviews and a curation of robust research.

1) Attunement– bringing oneself into harmony with individuals, groups and contexts

• Perspective taking is a cognitive capacity. It’s mostly about thinking. Empathy is an emotional response. It’s mostly about feeling. Both are crucial, but perspective taking has the advantage in selling in that it has higher levels of economic efficiency, without sacrificing our own material gain. Empathy is effective, but is at times a detriment to both discovering creative solutions and self-interest.

To tune into another effectively we need to “step into their shoes” and see the world from their point of view. What is important to them? What are their concerns? What’s driving them? Focus your perspective-taking not only on the people themselves, but also on their relationships and connections to others.

• Practice strategic mimicry. Try subtly imitating the body movements, posture and tone of the other so that they experience you “tuning into” them.

• Listen. Listen more, listen more carefully and talk less.

2) Buoyancy– a quality that combines grittiness of spirit and sunniness of outlook

• Start with your own questioning self-talk. “Can I make a great pitch?” “Can I move these people?” Answer your own question directly and in writing. List 5 reasons why the answer is yes.

Questioning self-talk elicits your own strengths, tactics and reasons for doing something and reminds you that many of those reasons come from within. This helps you to know the skills and capabilities you bring to the table that will help you to succeed.

• Bring a positivity ratio of at least 3:1. Raise the ratio by creating the mindset of positivity: open, curious, kind, real and appreciative. Allow yourself a small amount of appropriate negativity to grow, learn.

• Don’t give up. Pick yourself up when someone says no. Try again, differently. Ask yourself: How do I need to flex or bend to get a result? How do I need to toughen up to get a result? Find your resolve and grittiness and use it to change the situation for the better.

3) Clarity– the capacity to help others see their situations in fresh and more revealing ways and to identify problems they didn’t realize they had

• Problem Finding - If I know my problem, I can likely solve it. If I don’t know my problem, I might need some help finding it. Start by stating clearly and simply what you think the other’s problem is. Do your homework so you say it well and so they are able to hear it. Then, check for understanding and agreement.

One way to help others understand your statement is by framing it as “compared to what?” or by using the Five Whys. Your job is to curate information or gather what is out there on the subject so the other party can see their choices.

• Action: Give them the” off-ramp”. Provide clarity on how to take action with their understanding of the problem. This provides movement from ideas to action.

Three Skills to Successful Selling

1) To be successful you need a pitch.

• The purpose of a pitch isn’t necessarily to move others to immediately adopt your idea. The purpose is to offer something so compelling that it begins a conversation, brings the other person in as a participant and eventually arrives at an outcome that appeals to both of you.

• After someone hears your pitch what do you want them to know, to feel, to do? What’s the ask?

• Subject line pitches in emails need to appeal to utility and/or curiosity

2) Improvise

• Hear offers

• Say “yes, and” not “yes, but”

• Make your partner look good

• Hearing often hinges on attunement: you need to leave your own perspective to inhabit the perspective of the other.

3) Be of service

• Research has shown that all of us do things for “pro-social” or “self-transcending” reasons versus just self-interest.

Not only should we be of service, but also look to how we can tap into the others’ desire to serve. Those who move others aren’t manipulators, but act as servants who help others to move forward.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders get better at selling their services?Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to build a company culture built on trust? Transformational leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a transformational leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders create a high performance culture where respect and trust flourish.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture empathy-based sales conversations. You can become an inspiring leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resourcesis a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

For more information, please go to, write to, or call 415-546-1252.

Are you an executive leader who wants to be more effective at work and get better results?

Did you know that research has demonstrated, that the most effective leaders model high emotional intelligence, and that EQ can be learned? It takes self-awareness, empathy, and compassion to become a more emotionally intelligent leader. 

Emotionally intelligent and mindful leaders inspire people to become fully engaged with the vision and mission of their company.  Mindfulleadership starts from within.

I am a consulting psychologist and executive coach. I believe coaching is a collaborative process of providing people with the resources and opportunities they need to self manage, develop change resiliency and become more effective. Utilizing instrumented assessments - clients set clear goals, make optimal use of their strengths, and take action to create desired changes aligned with personal values.

I have been chosen as an expert to appear on radio and TV, MSNBC, CBS Health Watch and in the San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time and Fast Company.

Over the past thirty-five years, I have coached hundreds of leaders to improve their leadership effectiveness.

After only 6 months, one executive coaching client reported greater productivity, more stress resiliency, and helping her company improve revenues by 20%. While this may depend on many factors most of my clients report similar satisfaction in their EQ leadership competence leading to better business results.

You can choose to work with a highly seasoned executive coach to help facilitate your leadership development and executive presence awakening what’s possible. 

For more information, please go to, write to, or call 415-546-1252.

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