Go on any business site online and they’ll promise to tell you the secret to selling more to your customers. They’ll share the latest tips to increase email open rates, get more click throughs, higher conversions; tools to share data about your customers, right down to what they like to eat, watch, drive. But how stale and sterile is this? To compartmentalise people down to statistics, to numbers.
It’s almost like they’ve forgotten the most important thing, that there are real people behind the data, who have real lives and feelings. There’s one thing tech can’t teach us, and that’s empathy.
The definition of empathy is, ‘the ability to understand and share the feelings of another’, something we do with our family and friends, but what about our customers?
Daniel Kahneman, famed economist and Nobel Prize winner, said ‘we’re not rational creatures but instinctive ones’ – he believes that 95% of our decisions are made emotionally. To put that simply, that means that most people buy because of how something makes them feel, rather than out of need.
Imagine the power of being able to connect emotionally with your customers; to surprise them, by showing just how much you know them. I personally would love nothing more than to see more small businesses stand up and be brave, and create products that embrace life’s journey, good and bad.
Take Emily McDowell, in her words, she makes “illustrated greeting cards and gifts for the relationships we really have”, dealing with the subjects of serious illness, loss, and breakups. Emily was inspired to create after she was diagnosed with stage three Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which she amazingly overcame. The uncomfortable reactions she received during this time inspired her to create cards that really speak to people who are going through difficulties, and bring lightness and humour. She’s a huge inspiration to me.
Small businesses who have empathy in their hearts will always be relevant, because they’re able to traverse the changing tides of life. Build an emotional relationship with your customers, and they’ll be loyal to you for a lifetime.