Empathy In Restoration Industry Business Development

July 22nd, 2011 by Rainbow International

Last month the Harvard Business Review released results of a personality survey* administered to 1,000 salespeople. They sought an answer to the question: “What makes a superior salesperson or sales representative?” I found their answers intriguing, especially for those working in a sales capacity as business development associates in the restoration and cleaning industry.

The seven (7) key personality traits identified in this survey are:

(1)    Modesty
(2)    Conscientiousness
(3)    Achievement Orientation
(4)    Curiosity
(5)    Lack of Gregariousness
(6)    Lack of Discouragement
(7)    Lack of Self-Consciousness

While many of these traits seem self-evident in a good salesperson, others are outside the realm of general expectations. I encourage you to read the full article for more information.

To this mix I’ll add another trait that, based on my experience, is critical in successful business development associates, particularly to those working with insurance agents and adjusters in the restoration and cleaning industry: empathy.

Empathy is the ability to recognize and, to some degree, share the feelings of others. For the restoration and cleaning industry, this can mean successfully relating at an emotionally and psychologically compelling level with customers dealing with the shock and aftermath of a water, fire, smoke or mold disaster. As a restoration and cleaning services provider, the business development associate represents both insurance carriers and their policy-holders. The most successful amongst these possess the genuine empathetic ability to see, think and feel what their customers see, think and feel.

My own experiences as a sales representative and sales manager confirm this. Leading restoration and cleaning industry business development associates truly care about their customers. They take the time to listen and expend sincere effort to understand the challenges at hand. This is evident in pre-call planning, face-to-face interviews and service presentations leading to the successful completion of a job.

If you want to be a leading business development associate in the restoration and cleaning industry, ask yourself the following tough questions:

  • “How can the restoration and cleaning contractor I represent help solve my customers’ problems?” 
  • “What is best for the customer?”
  • “Does everything I do, from emails to calls to presentations to deal-sealing handshakes, put the customer first?”

Exercise empathy. See, think and feel as your customers do and work towards becoming a leading restoration and cleaning industry business development associate. Above all, treat others as you would like to be treated and put your customers first.


Bruce T. Vogt
Director of Business Development and Marketing
Rainbow International®

Bruce Vogt, an accomplished speaker, instructor, author, and communicator is an authority on water damage restoration, mold remediation and humidity control.

Bruce has over 20 years consulting experience with engineers, plant and facility managers, manufacturing facilities, hotels, motels, universities, water and fire damage restoration contractors and the military. Bruce has designed humidity control systems for plants, factories, military equipment and environmental protection systems for museum artifacts at the Smithsonian Institute.

Bruce understands the effects and potential health consequences of water, fire, smoke and mold damage  He has trained water, fire, smoke and mold damage cleanup and restoration contractors and insurance agents and adjusters for many years.

Bruce was a contributor to the first-ever published IICRC Standards and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration S500-94. He is also the author of Marketing by Delight, a reference guide to superior customer relations.