We are all in the business of moving others. Moving them to believe in our pitch, join our nascent companies, invest into our companies, buy our products, etc.

We are all in the business of moving others. Tweet This Quote

The way many of us do this (or attempt to) is by following the infamous words of Glengarry Glen Ross — ABC: Always Be Closing, and AIDA: Attention, Interest, Decision, Action.

The problem with that approach is that in today’s world – where information is ubiquitous, where information asymmetries largely don’t exist anymore, and where the power has, by and large, shifted from the seller to the buyer – all of this doesn’t work anymore (if it ever did).

Today, you need to understand your customer and her problems, challenges, and opportunities. Tweet This Quote

Today, you need to understand your customer and her problems, challenges, and opportunities. Not only do you need to get into her head (the numbers, data, facts), but you also need to reach her heart.

Why do you believe VCs keep telling you they invest into people, not products?

Numerous studies point toward much better negotiation outcomes if you not only try to understand what the other party thinks, but also what they feel. You need to develop your empathetic capabilities if you want to do this well and be successful.

Next time you find yourself selling, pitching, convincing, put yourself in the other party’s shoes and figure out what they feel. It will make your appeal much more compelling.


This originally published on Pascal’s blog.

About the author

Pascal Finette

Pascal Finette

Pascal is the Managing Director of Singularity University's Startup Lab. He is also an entrepreneur, coach, and speaker who has worked in Internet powerhouses, such as eBay, Mozilla, and Google, and Venture Capital—starting both a VC firm and accelerator program.

  • Michael Cramer

    Yes! This is a very concise and direct verbiage of what I feel is the most important aspect of any business. Any successful business venture that I’ve ever engaged in or observed first-hand arose out of natural friendships and relationships with real people. Going out into the world and simply observing or listening to what people in your community have to say is the easiest way to gain new insight into the reality of what’s popular, what people want, and what the future might hold. Data and information gained through books and online resources will only help people to a limited extent because the deepest insight and understanding of business and of people can only be gained through real-life interactions over time. There are no short cuts when it comes to building relationships and business networks.

  • Sharon

    This article makes sense to me because I believe that a company cannot create a successful product or service based on guessing what the consumer needs but rather need to put themselves in the consumer’s mindset and really feel the problem they want to solve in order to be able to understand and address it fully. In my experience, the most successful products are developed because of an actual need the entrepreneur originally wanted to address in order to help himself or his family/close friends. This is really the only way to be able to get into the heart and mind of your consumer, is if you really understand and feel the need yourself.

  • Kelly Willman

    I think this is an interesting article and definitely agree that buyers have the upper hand in sales. Most potential buyers are smart enough to not be easily convinced of a new product unless they were already planning on buying it or at least looking into it. If buyers don’t buy a product, then the product becomes obsolete and the company loses lots of money, thus shifting many (if not all) companies to cater exactly to the buyer’s specifications. More products are available now than there ever has been before due to this fact and the wide variety of local, global, and online brands.

  • Ishan Gandhii

    This article was very true. I feel now we use more are heart to invest and buy than back then. If you need to negotiate with some one or get some one to buy something you now need sell the their heart as much as there mind if not more. Examples I have seen of this is Toms with there idea that if you buy one they donate one.