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Creating an empathy-forward sales strategy with messaging & positioning strategist Danait Berhe

💡The best way to appeal to the emotional and rational sides of your potential buyers is to utilize storytelling tactics.

We know as independent business owners, an effective sales strategy is based on understanding your target audience and communicating effectively. In order for our audience to buy from us, we need to understand their buying decisions. 

Messaging and positioning strategist Danait Berhe joins us on the show to share how business owners can communicate their offer through empathy-driven sales strategies. In this episode, she breaks down how we can position ourselves as thought leaders in our industry through our messaging to move our audience into action. 

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Danait’s journey as a positioning and messaging strategist

Like many independent business owners, Danait never thought she’d be running the business she is now, especially since she went to school for science and psychology. From a young age, she was fascinated with buying psychology. Yet, when she went into sales after college, she quickly learned that the corporate world was not for her.

She came across Rising Tide Society and realized that she could start a business and run it completely online. She started a branding business to help other entrepreneurs, and she quickly realized that her clients struggled to communicate the value of their business, which impacted their sales abilities.

Danait incorporated a messaging strategy package into her business to help entrepreneurs determine what made them unique and why people would want to work with them. Her package was so successful that she shifted her entire agency to center around position and messaging strategy. 

The positioning and messaging pitfalls that most business owners fall into 

As business owners, we’re typically focused on the skills that our brand offers—not necessarily the positioning or messaging that we communicate to our audience. Here are a few of the pitfalls that most business owners fall into:

  • Getting swept away in trends and a constantly-evolving digital landscape
  • Mirroring what’s working for someone else
  • Not embracing what is unique about you
  • Focusing too much on your peers instead of your audience

The psychology of buying

It’s important to understand what’s going on in your potential client and customer’s minds when they make buying decisions. For example, a lot of sales tactics, such as scarcity and urgency, are built to play on your prospect’s emotions. However, the brain makes the buying decisions. 

While the brain may make some emotional buying decisions, it also has to rationalize the choice. If you only play on people’s emotions and do not provide their rational brains with tangible ways that your product or service will solve their problems, they may end up regretting their buying decision and ask for a refund. 

We’re not in the world of online businesses, and audiences have become hip to common sales tactics. They can tell when you’re going into a launch period, announcing a sale, or selling something at the end of a webinar. Instead of preying on their emotions, which they can see through, you need to appeal to their rational side. 

That looks like answering some very basic questions in your messaging, such as:

  • Why this offer?
  • Why you?
  • Why me?
  • Why should I be buying this?
  • Why is this specifically suited to me?
  • Why now?

The best way to appeal to the emotional and rational sides of your potential buyers is to utilize storytelling tactics.

Shifting from a negative to a positive sales approach

An old sales tactic is to push on people’s pain points and offer them a solution to their problems. This tactic leans negative and makes potential customers feel frustrated. A better tactic is to utilize a positive sales approach and help your customers look at their problems in a new way. 

You need to open up new possibilities that they haven’t thought about before. Then, you can share your unique perspective and approach to solving their problem. When you blow their mind with new possibilities, they will have a positive association with you and your business. This will also create a natural sense of urgency because they will want to take advantage of your solutions to their problems right away.

How to utilize an empathy-forward sales strategy

Knowing your audience’s pain points is still an extremely important part of the sales process. However, we want to point them to positive solutions that encourage them rather than telling them how terrible their problem is and that it will only get worse if they don’t solve it with your solution.

Instead of harping on pain points, you want to say: “Hey, I know you’re thinking about your problem that way, but I want you to think about it this way. This is the key to an empathy-forward sales strategy.

For it to work, you need to:

  • Know your audience extremely well, including their problems, fears, desires, perspectives, feelings, and actions
  • Pay attention to what they say they need
  • Understand the solutions they’re looking for

You also need to focus on your own thought leadership and figure out your unique take on your audience’s problems. You need to excavate your own genius and tap into your uniqueness. 

Finally, you can marry your audience’s problems with your unique solutions. Your audience will feel like you understand and see them, and they will want to take advantage of what only you can offer them as a solution to their problems.

When you and your audience are aligned, an empathy-forward sales strategy will feel much more natural than the sales tactics you’ve tried in the past that have felt like an uphill battle. 

Developing your thought leadership

Many business owners feel like they aren’t unique or don’t have a unique perspective to offer their clients. However, you can actually develop your own thought leadership by paying attention to your clients.

Take time to write out your ideal client’s problems, fears, desires, perspectives, feelings, and actions. You want to feel like you’re inside their brain.

Next, look at the list and write down your own perspective about each category. What do you think about their fears? How would you solve their problems? How can you address everything that is going on emotionally for them?

This process will help you extract your own genius and brilliance so that you can meet your client’s needs in a way that is unique to you.

The future of entrepreneurship 

For a long time, entrepreneurship was glorified. However, the last few years have been hard on entrepreneurs. With the pandemic, economic problems, and AI developments, there’s been a lot of fear and uncertainty in entrepreneurship. 

The future of entrepreneurship is people stepping into their own thought leadership and figuring out how to solve problems in ways that are unique to them. 

Tapping into your own genius will remove you from following current trends and climbing an uphill sales battle. The key is to become customer-obsessed and solution-oriented, while always asking yourself how you can get better. 

The biggest differentiator between the businesses that succeed and the ones that fail

Danait believes that the biggest differentiator between the businesses that succeed and the ones that fail is that the ones who succeed carve their own path. They see everything else, such as social media and AI, as a tool to enhance what they do. They are naturally scrappy and can figure things out on their own.

Important sections of the conversation

  • [1:50] Danait’s journey as a position and messaging strategist 
  • [6:55] The positioning and messaging pitfalls that most business owners fall into
  • [13:45 ]The psychology of buying
  • [18:44] Shifting from a negative to a positive sales approach
  • [23:43] How to utilize an empathy forward sales strategy
  • [29:07] Developing your thought leadership 
  • [38:03] The future of entrepreneurship
  • [42:31] The biggest differentiator between the businesses that succeed and the ones that fail

Resources mentioned

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