How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
LOCATE is an acronym that describes a set of useful activities you can use to better understand your customer and their needs.
Listen to the other person, not just superficially, but using active and deep listening. Hear the person inside, detecting their needs and goals, identifying preferences and biases, discovering their beliefs and values.
Watch how their body changes with their words. See the tensions, the excitement, the fears and so on. As Yogi Berra once said, 'You can observe a lot just by watching'.
Combine what you have already discovered with what you want to know and want to know. Bringing things together leads to new thoughts and potentially useful discoveries.
Ask questions to discover more detail that is relevant to your selling process. Find more about the person and their needs.
Do remember to listen much more than you talk. Ask carefully crafted questions that will elicit valuable information for you.
If you just ask questions, they may become suspicious. Share a little information about you and your company, though do be careful not to over-do this.
You can also talk with other people, finding more about your customer from their colleagues and others who have met or know them. These people will tell you something of their hidden self, which the customer will not tell you directly.
Note that empathy is difficult to fake -- if you truly do care about them then it will shine through your words and deeds.