Demonstrating empathy with clients and partners will always contribute to your success.
Empathy is an important aspect of emotional intelligence that will directly relate to your success as an entrepreneur. Empathy is your ability to place yourself in the position of others and see things from their perspective. This affects the way you approach a deal with business partner or client. If the other person does not feel that you understand and appreciate their needs, it will be very difficult to close that deal.
A critical skill in practicing empathy is using active listening with your partners and clients. As entrepreneurs, our successes and failures hinge not only on our ability to deliver our products and services, but also on our ability to create and maintain relationships. Your goal when speaking to a client should be to discover the value they are hoping to get by engaging you or the unmet need they feel you can meet.
As they tell you about the problem they are trying to solve, try to focus on reflecting their perspective back to them. When we repeat the problem we are being told, it often leads to clarity on possible solutions. If you have the right product/service to meet their need, they will feel assured that you understand that need and they will buy from you. Sometimes you might find yourself referring them to another person that might be a better fit. Which is always okay if they get what they need in the end and you can be assured that they will be a brand advocate for you in the future.
This same approach works when negotiating a partnership. If you find that this strategy is not getting you what you were hoping from the relationship. Stop, then try to imagine yourself as if the tables are turned: how would you feel about their current challenges and needs? Based on this, how do you think they will respond and think about the outcome of your proposal?
Depending on how you answer that last question, you will have the opportunity to both move comfortably forward with a clear understanding of either a yes or no to doing business together. Or, if you need to, you can continue the conversation with a revised perspective and hopefully a different objective.