For many Small Business Owners marketing is a complicated subject.

They know they need to do it in order to connect with clients but they aren’t always sure how about the most effective way to do it.

And they also want to do marketing it in a way that seems natural and not pushy.

I always say to forget about the word marketing and instead to start using the word connecting.

Because that is what marketing is all about, simply connecting with people.

“Succeeding in business is all about making connections.” Richard Branson

One way to make deep connections is with empathy.

What is Empathy?

But what exactly is empathy? Let’s look at how the author of Dare to Lead, Dr. Brene Brown sees it. 

This beautiful video explains it visually using her wise words.

The main point from the video is that empathy is all about connection.

She also mentions Theresa Wiseman’s 4 Qualities of Empathy:
1. Perspective Taking
2. Non-Judgement
3. Recognizing Others’ Emotions
4. Communicating What You Recognize

“Empathy is a choice and it’s a vulnerable choice.” Brene Brown

In essence, empathy boils down to turning your focus toward another person, not yourself.

Empathy and Marketing

This is a powerful excerpt from Seth Godin’s book, This is Marketing

Empathy is at the heart of marketing

People don’t believe what you believe.
They don’t know what you know.
They don’t want what you want.
It’s true, but we’d rather not accept this.

If we can accept that people have embraced who they have become, it gets a lot easier to dance with them. Not to transform them, not to get them to admit they are wrong. Simply to dance with them, to have the chance to connect with them.”

Keep these wise words in mind as you connect with people and allow your curiosity to lead the way.

How To Be Empathetic

Let’s take each of the qualities mentioned above using an example from my business to see how this works with marketing.

Imagine a small business owner who wants more clients. She is extremely skilled in her work as health coach but is unsure about how to market her business.

Perspective Taking

It’s important that I understand her perspective on marketing, it may not be her favorite thing and perhaps she dislikes it. If I were to start our work together with the perspective that she loves marketing as much as I do, that would be an enormous mistake. First, I need to understand how she feels about marketing and why that is.


I do not judge her for her hesitation about marketing. I listen to her experiences in an open and accepting way.

Recognizing Others’ Emotions

When I hear her talk about all of the things she has tried that haven’t worked, I sense that she is incredibly frustrated and deflated.

Communicating What You Recognize

When she is done sharing, I will acknowledge her feelings and experiences and let her know that I know what that feels like, I’ve been there too.

Below are two additional keys to being empathetic.

Be Present

When you’re with someone, really be in the moment with them. Give them the gift of your full attention. Read more about this here.

“Simply paying attention allows us to build an emotional connection. Lacking attention, empathy hasn’t a chance.” Daniel Goleman

Be Helpful

If you are in the position to help someone you’re talking with, then offer to do so. This might be sharing a resource, making an introduction, or providing a referral. Check out this post for more on this.

Empathy is a critical skill that makes business and life better. And it’s never too soon (or too late) to start learning about it.

Want to learn even more about empathy? Check out this TEDx talk: How to start an empathy revolution: Roman Krznaric at TEDxAthens 2013

And this is a list of 7 Books That Will Help You Develop More Empathy

I hope you’re feeling inspired to extend empathy to your clients, your business partners, and all of the people in your life.

© Stephanie Ward

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR NEWSLETTER, BLOG OR WEBSITE? You can, as long as you include this information with it: Stephanie Ward is the Marketing Coach for Entrepreneurs who want to create meaningful and prosperous businesses. Grab your FREE copy of the special report ’7 Steps to Attract More Clients in Less Time’ plus business building tips, at:

What is your experience with empathy?

Share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below.

I respond to every single comment.


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