Show Me Your Empathy

How do you get a prospect to know quickly, at a cellular level, that you’re in tune with how they’re feeling—and that you’re on their side?

One of the best ways is using what I call an “empathy story.”

Let me explain:

You know how when you’re having a bad day, and you just need someone to talk to about it? Not to smother you with hugs and throw a pity party.

Just to listen to you and have them let you know how you feel?

This is a normal human need. What you’re looking from the other person for is empathy.

Well, with a little research and a clear head, you can meet that need in an email (or in a live sales pitch) by telling an empathy story.

These are short persuasion stories—sometimes, only a few sentences long—that put the experience another person’s experience into words.

Simply the clarity such a story provides can have an amazing bonding effect between you and a prospect.

Compared to most stories, these are different in one striking way: They usually don’t have an ending!

Why would you tell a story without an ending?

For the simple reason that you are priming your prospect for an ending which will come a little later, when you present your product or service. Which, it turns out, is the solution to the problem you got them in touch with emotionally in the first place.

Remember that when you tell an empathy story, it needs to be about specifics.

Feelings. Thoughts. Actions. Perceptions. Don’t fall into the trap of using broad generalizations and overbearing abstractions. Because when you do that, you undermine the whole power of an empathy story.

You don’t want to sound like a psychology professor reading out of a textbook.

You want to come across like a fellow human being who understands the way another person is feeling.

One great thing about empathy stories is that they build rapport quickly.

When your words resonate with what’s going on in their inner world, they feel bonded to you. A very powerful feeling for a prospect to have when your goal is to persuade that person.

What’s especially important is that your empathy story needs to describe the actual lived experience of your prospect. You can’t make them up out of thin air.

So, to make your story authentic, you need to do a little real-world research.

A couple of tips:

Have conversations with people going through the experiences you want to describe in your empathy story.

Listen closely not only to what they’re talking about, but also to how they’re saying it. Make note of the actual words they use to describe their experience.

• Check out what people say in product reviews, on sites like Amazon. Pay attention especially to their complaints, frustrations, and questions.

• Seek out the same information (and specific phrasings) on forums like Reddit.

Why do empathy stories work so well? The most important reason is that they appeal to emotion, not logic. When people hear an accurate portrayal of their own experiences, they are moved in their hearts.

Let’s take a look at an empathy story so you can know what I’m talking about.

This one would be for prospects who are struggling with joint pain:

“Every morning when the alarm goes off, you hate having to get out of bed. At first, the pain in your knees and hips is barely noticeable as you shuffle to the kitchen to start the coffee.
But soon the pain builds, and by the time you’ve had your first few sips of coffee, it’s agony. Every movement, every step, feels like sandpaper grinding your bones from the inside.
You plan your entire day around avoiding activities that require too much motion or impact on your joints.”

Show prospects you understand what they’re going through, and then they’ll be much more receptive to your solution, when you present it.

I show you four types of proven empathy stories in Chapter 4 of my new book The Persuasion Story Code, along with simple templates so you can create your own.

And empathy stories are only one group of stories I cover in the book. There are five other groups of persuasion stories we get into, too.

If you don’t already have the book, check it out here:



Leave a Comment