Empathy is the art of standing in the shoes of another person, viewing problems as they do and then, providing solutions. Very few people are capable of portraying empathy in their speech. Far fewer can portray it in their writing. In fact, science proves that empathy sells. In fact, empathetic writing is three times as likely to sell as writing that is not empathetic.
Here are some important tips I picked along the way:
Ask yourself: Genuinely take 30 minutes out of your time to think from your customer’s standpoint.Ask yourself questions like what the customer's every day schedule and life-style might be like. Do they have annoying coworkers? Do they find it difficult to balance work and life? How can you make their life about 10% easier?
Think without distraction: Honestly, just spend some time thinking. It really helps if you can switch off your phone to find focus. Tap into the emotions the customer possibly might feel, and then present your solution. Listen with your mind and heart.
Imagination: Think of yourself as a knight proposing to a princess. What’s the one thing you can tell them to swoon for you? (Don’t over-sell though, credibility is also very important)
Use the 5Y technique: If a customer gives you a problem statement, ask “why” five times. That way, you would arrive at the root cause of the problem. A great example on a 5Y analysis is found here. Make sure you validate your analysis with an internal consultant or your customer before you put it on the proposal document. If you are sure you are correct, describe how your organization can solve your customer’s problem systematically, one step at a time.
Write better: Its one thing to empathise. Its another thing to let your readers know. The Shipley’s guide to proposals recommends using the customer’s name 2.5 times more frequently than you use your company’s name. That itself shows your product or service is being created and offered with the customer in mind. Maintain a 70 (customer): 30 (your organization) ratio.
Don't offer products. Offer help: Instead of saying “I can do this for you”, say “You have this problem, and this is how we can help
Analyse your proposals: Read the proposals you hated making and compare them to the ones you enjoyed making. Note the differences. See what you could have done to make both seem better.
You can do more reading and research on this subject here:
How emotions influence business
Empathy and story writing
Scientific selling through empathy