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Congratulations – You’re Both!

Meet Suzy – Who Leads With Empathy
Meet Tony – Who Leads With Courage

Suzy Leads With Empathy

First, let’s understand what empathy means. Empathy literally means feeling with the other person—understanding what he or she is feeling at that moment. It means setting aside our own desires, fears, and even prejudices as we relate to another person.


  • Seek to understand your customer’s inner world.
  • You ask rapport building questions.
  • You shift your focus from what you want out of a transaction (victory, commission, the trip to Jamaica in the sales contest) to what your prospect wants.
  • You practice Wholehearted Listening. You listen to the emotion behind the words.

To Be More Respectfully Assertive:

  • Ask tougher discovery questions.
  • Challenge your customers and provide insights.
  • If you can’t get an immediate commitment, schedule a follow up meeting.
  • Add value rather than dropping price. You will always be better off demonstrating value than debating price. And if you compete solely on price, someone out there will beat you on price.

Tony Leads With Courage

Courage is the virtue that enables people to create urgency, move through rejection, and become stronger. You’re not afraid to face the “no’s in your life and go for what you want.


  • Rarely panic at the thought of hearing “No”
  • You understand why you need the No’s, so you’re skilled at uncovering objections
  • Make the tough calls, and find creative ways to break through walls and barriers

To be more Respectfully Assertive:

  • Listen fully before you respond. Don’t become defensive. Breathe. Let the customer finish their train of thought. Now ask yourself: is this a deal killer? Many objections are valid—the customer just needs more information. Some test you to gauge if you will answer their concerns truthfully.
  • Answer a question with a question. Listen fully and clarify the customer’s “no” with a question. This is an extremely effective way to reduce ambiguity—just be careful not to overuse this technique.
  • Ramp up your rapport building- In its simplest terms, real empathy involves listening and understanding your customer’s heart, mind, soul and emotions. It’s about putting your judgments aside and being present to their hopes, fears, beliefs, and needs. Ask more rapport building questions. Understand your customers problems AND dig deeper to determine what makes their life worth living.

You may know a Suzy and a Tony or two, because the sales world is rife with them.

You might bounce back and forth between the two extremes. When the pressure is on to meet quota, we may turn up the Tony and when we’re feeling insecure, we find ourselves struck with a serious case of Suzy syndrome. The good news is that you can structure into your presentation strategies for maintaining a healthy balance between the two poles of accommodation and manipulation.  Let’s see how the pros do just that.

The Middle Way—Respectfully Assertive

Respectfully assertive salespeople continually ask themselves:

  • Am I providing valuable insights that are distinct from my competitors?
  • Is my prospect bored?
  • Is she engaged?
  • Do I need to ask tougher questions?
  • Is it time to assume the sale, or is there something else I can assist her with?
  • Is she fearful? Have fight-or-flight hormones hijacked her brain? (Is she an iguana right now)?
  • Is my prospect becoming nervous?
  • Should I ask them to buy now after that obvious buying signal?
  • Should I back off?

One of my colleagues, used to say the most important jobs of a salesperson is to manage the emotional state of the client. So if the prospect seems scared, tell a story or ask a question that will help them relive a positive memory. If your prospect seems bored, speed things up, simplify, or use phrases that better align with their values and concerns.

Think less about what you want to say and more about how you want the prospect to feel.

Shari Levitin website


Shari Levitin is an energetic, wickedly funny sales guru, who helps sales teams bridge the gap between beating quota and selling with an authentic, heartfelt approach. As the founder of the Shari Levitin Group, Shari has helped create over 1 billion dollars in increased revenue for companies in over 40 countries.

Shari is the bestselling author of Heart and Sell: 10 Universal Truths Every Salesperson Needs to Know, (now translated in 4 languages), a contributor to Forbes, CEO Magazine, Quotable, Inc Magazine, and Huffington Post.

Shari has been recognized as one of the

  • Top Ten Voices in Sales for LinkedIn 2018
  • Top 20 global sales experts appearing in the documentary film “The Story
    of Sales.” (Salesforce)
  • 35 Most Influential Women in Sales (Sales Hacker)
  • Top 35 sales authors for her book, Heart and Sell (Vengreso)
  • Number one Thought Leader of 2019 for Girls Club
  • Top 50 Keynote Speakers (Top Sales World)

Additionally, Shari is a guest lecturer at Harvard Extension Programs, an Advisory Board member of Vengreso, the largest digital transformation company, an advisory board member of the prestigious Sundance Institute and was chosen as the first adjunct professor at the University of Utah David Eccles School of Business to teach a course in sales.

Shari, her husband, and son live in Park City, Utah. When she’s not creating killer content, and presenting at sales kickoffs, Shari enjoys skiing, rock climbing, reading, and standing on her head.

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