Planning, Startups, Stories


Tim Berry on business planning, starting and growing your business, and having a life in the meantime.

The "You" Word: Empathy in Selling, Job Hunting, Whatever

I’m amazed at what some people put forward as ideas and proposals and suggestions. I can feel your pain, I think, if you’re trying to drum up business during this recession. Don’t make it harder for yourself.

Technically, start your letter with “You.” Start your email, start your phone call, start your tweet with “You.” As in “You are,” or “you need,” or “you want.”

Metaphorically, figuratively, the same thing. Call it empathy. Understanding what the other person wants. You’re selling, they’re not; so put it in their terms. In letters, emails, phone calls, whatever, start with benefits. Not benefits for you, but benefits for the other person across the table. How is this going to be good for the person you’re addressing?

So, it comes up because I get emails asking how to write business proposals, and then I get emails suggesting business deals that make absolutely no sense. If they’d seen our website, they’d never propose that.

Start your proposal with benefits that your buyer will get.

The best salesperson I ever worked with had one outstanding quality: he listened.

One response to “The "You" Word: Empathy in Selling, Job Hunting, Whatever”

  1. […] Mike Masnick of Techdirt takes it further: “go out there proactively and try to help others.” Business plan guru, Tim Berry reflects that proactive attitude beginning with the language one uses, suggesting a “you” rather than a “me” approach.  […]

  2. @Factor77 says:

    I love the analogy that Social Media is like one big party… you’ve gotta bring stuff to the party, you can’t just walk in and expect to be liked. Make sure you provide content for your network. Then you’ve gotta schmooze around a little and see what you can do–you’ve gotta be interesting at the party, or nobody will want to talk to you!

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