I was recently talking with a client about empathy. We were planning a training event for his young store managers and he wanted them to know more about how to relate to customers and prospects.
As we discussed the content of the program, we began to consider the difference between sympathy and empathy. My client contributed something he had learned about sympathy. "When it come to business," he said, "Sympathy costs money."
His point was that feeling sorry for a customer might lead to a soft-hearted discount or unusually generous consideration.
I added that empathy or having the ability to share a customer's feelings can build rapport that leads to a larger sale or more sales.
So, when it comes to selling, sympathy costs your company money, but empathy makes your company money.