You will make more money if you get inside each customer’s head; really get inside and start to think exactly like they think. We all know that marketing is about providing what people want, but new research, published in the journal Psychological Science, suggests that we need to do much more than simply finding out basic needs and desires.

Psychologists in Chicago at Northwestern University looked at the comparative value of empathy and perspective taking. Their investigations showed that during negotiating sessions, those individuals who showed empathy towards their “opponents” were less successful than those who undertook “perspective taking”.

Empathy is not enough online

In psychological terms, empathy means the ability to have an emotional connection to someone, to be able to gauge their feelings and react appropriately. That might seem sensible for sales people and for anyone trying to negotiate. Indeed, you’ll find plenty of sales training material suggesting that you work on your empathy.

But the researchers discovered that “perspective takers” had much more successful negotiations. Those people who can perform “perspective taking” are able to consider a situation from someone else’s viewpoint. It is much more than empathy, which merely deals with emotion. Perspective taking allows you to think like your opponent. When you do this, you are considerably more successful than merely being empathetic.

So what does this tell us as Internet Marketers? It suggests that simply knowing what your customers want and connecting with them emotionally is nowhere near enough to be sure of selling. Instead, you need to see your web site and all your sales materials, emails and so on, from the customer perspective.

Connect with your customers

And how can you achieve that? It means you have to really, really, really get to know your customers. Talk to them, ask them questions, find out as much as you can about them. Be with them, go where they go, join the clubs they join. The more you understand your customers and the more you connect with them the more you will be able to start thinking like them. And once you do that, you can take their perspective, resulting in more sales.

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