The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 3 years ago

How to Use Empathy to Break a Customer’s Armor w/ David Priemer


What comes to mind when you think of salespeople?

Is it the used car salesman with his hair slicked back, desperate to get you into that car before you leave the lot today?

Or that snake oil salesman from decades ago traveling from town to town peddling something that he knows is a hoax?

If you ask customers the question, “Do you like talking to salespeople?” the answer is almost always going to be a unanimous no. Even sales people don’t like talking to salespeople. But why is that?

Welcome to the sales engagement podcast. This podcast is brought to you by outreach dot ioh, the leading sales engagement platform helping companies, sellers and customer success engaged with buyers and customers in the modern sales era. Check out sales engagementcom for new episodes resources in the book on sales engagement coming soon. Now let's get into today's episode. Hey everyone, thanks again for coming back to these sales engagement podcast we have an incredible episode today. We have a very, very smart guy on the show today, David Kramer with cerebral selling. You see, cerebrals went anyway, he's on the show today. He's going to be talking about some principles to break through your customers armor and that's going to be someone around messaging. But I don't want to steal the thunder. I'm going to toss it on over to David who. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, David, and a little bit about your background? Yeah, I know, it's great pleasure to be with you here, Joe. My Name is David Pramer. I'm the founder and, as I say, chief sales scientist over here at cerebral selling. The quick background on me. I started my career here as a research scientist. I want you to see I got credentials in the wall in case you know, case you're ever here and your question what's going on? And now I started my career as a research scientist, ended up in sales by accident, like most of us do, twenty years ago at the turn of thecom boom, and absolutely fell in love. Spent the next twenty years across for tech startups. Three of those startups ended up getting acquired. One got acquired by sales force, where I came over and got to spend five amazing years before leaving and eventually starting my own training and content practice called cerebral selling, built around science and empathy. So that's what I'm doing today. I love it, super passionate about it and love helping the next generation of modern sales people. I like these said science and empathy, because one of those you don't really associate with salespeople and it's the ladder, the empathy part. So talk a little bit about that, kind of give us a primer, if you will. Yeah, you know, for many years and you know it's funny. One of the questions I ask people as I say, you know, hey, do you like talking to sales people? In fact, it's the number one thing that's on the front page of my website, and the answer is unanimously no. In fact, I can ask that question to a room full of a hundred sales people, and even sales people don't like talking to sales people, and one of the reasons for that is, you know, historically routed meaning. You know, when you use the word sales or selling, people automatically conjure up images of like the sleazy used car salesman that lived in a time where people didn't have the same access to information that there was kind of it was totally different setup involved in the buyer seller relationship. And you know, when we think about like empathy, oftentimes those sellers would go out and they would engage in all sorts of different tactics and practices. It's almost like they were whipping out their sales badge like their FBI say excuse me, sir, I'm in sales. Are Going to get to treat you like a jerk here for the next half hour, but it's okay, I'm in sales, it's I'm allowed, and that construct no one tolerates that anymore, and so the idea behind empathy is to always use tactics and think about, as a seller, like what would work on you. Right, the fact that you can get into a room full of a hundred sales people and say who here likes talking to sales people, and no one raises their hand. In a way that's a problem in and of itself. So that's what I mean by empathy and, as you mentioned, no one's going to raise their hand saying, yeah, I love talking to sales people, unless they maybe you're just a hardcore celler. You just love everything about it. You just want to kind of feel out how someone's going to pitch them. So you automatically have your armor up and you write about three principles to break through someone's armor. Walk us through what those are and how one can apply them? Yeah, for sure. I mean one of the challenges is that we become so resistant two pitches. Right, as people like we we don't tolerate it anymore because we don't like pitches, we don't like talking to sales people, and there's a million solutions out there and it's actually part of our defense mechanism. It's not necessarily...

...we actually hate pitches. And what's funny, Jo I'll tell you. When I'm in a room where someone raises their hand and say, Oh, I do like talking to sales people, and ask them like well, why is that? They say I just like hearing people pitch, like the same reason I love infommercial. So it's almost this like this weird fascination. People have a sales but we are generally resistant to pitches people pitch us, we kind of like get all defensive and there's a million solutions out there. So as a defense mechanism we just kind of tune everything out. And so where this idea came from about breaking through your customers armor is thinking about. Let's go back to empathy for a second. How do you buy things? You know, if if we want to sell the way we buy, well, then how do we buy things? And one of the ways that we buy things are the biggest way we buy things is based on feelings, emotion, and they've been a number of studies that have been done on this. There's one in Harvard business that I routinely quote that talked about all of the they broke down the hundred different kinds of emotions that people exhibit when they buy things, like feeling of safety, wanting to belong, helping the environment, like all these things, and they kind of distilled it down. And so the idea behind breaking through your customers armor with messages is how do you craft and message when someone says what is it that you do? What do you do, Joe? What do you do? How do you describe it in a way that kind of pulls on that emotional element? Right? So many people, when you ask them what they do, they describe, oh, we're a software company and we sell software that helps bedrs automate thero out and like no one cares, no offense, no one cares. Like what you do, right. They want to have that emotional connection because in our personal lives everything you buy has an emotional connection. So the idea behind breaking through your customers armor is how do you cultivate that emotional connection through your messaging, and I'm happy to you know I don't have any kind of intro thoughts on that and from your own personal experience, but happy to go through them. But what do you think, Joe? No, I one hundredercent agree and I'm one hundred percent guilty of kind of just describe, Oh yeah, or so offward company and he well, you Blahblah, blah, and I really should frame my response more on an emotional level and that's really bad for a marketer, and particularly a content marketer like myself that should be good at telling a story to connects with someone on an emotional level, and I'm failing at that. So it's you. You've shamed me inadvertently and now I will look look inwardly and and fix some things. But no, I'd love to hear more about the kind of how to part, for sure. Yeah, and I think you don't feel too bad. I mean part of the challenge is that as sellers, and especially in the technology space, we're so close to our product right and we're so close to the problem and we love what we've built and we love what we've invented and so we tend to fall in love with it and then we don't appreciate that other people have not kind of come to the same place that we are. So that kind of the three just get into like tactically, there's three approaches and I feel like in all way they kind of build off of each other. So the first approach, the first tactic is all about polarization. So, for example, I'm going to you know, I'm not as you know, I'm calling in from here from Toronto, Canada. So I have no horse in this race. But if I were to say, for example, I think that Donald Trump is completely misunderstood and he's actually doing a fantastic you're laughing. I don't know, Joe, I don't know where you're laughing. Now he's I think he's doing he's doing a great job. It was in audible. I was smiling. Oh yeah, that's good. He's misunderstood. I think he's actually doing quite a good job. If you actually look at the metrics around what he's done. He think he's doing a great job. Now, okay, let's just go out of character here, per second. I just said that to be, you know, through too hyperbole to polarize you. Right, I don't have any horse in this race. But whether or not you agree with what I said or you don't agree with what I said, you've made a very fast decision. But whether or not you're now going to be willing to listen to me right, and the idea behind messages that break through is if you have to spend too much time thinking about something. If I'm explaining it with like too much nuance and too much detail, you're going to be out. You know, like, imagine you go to someone's website if you can't figure out what that company does, and you know ten seconds you're going to bounce and it's like...'s too complicate, your brain hurts. Right. So the idea behind polarizing messages, which is the first one, is how are you taking aside? How are you picking an enemy right and leading with that enemy and helping your audience kind of self select? Are you on my side? Are you not on my side? And want to give you some examples. Absolutely, let's all right. So you know, also, I was the first one I was started with. Was My my third startup was a coming to called ripple. This was the one that was acquired by sales force, and what we offered was a feedback, coaching and recognition solution for work. So it's based on this premise that people that work, especially young people, want lots to feed back about how they're doing. But if we just led with that message edge of Hey, look, it's feedback, coaching recognition, you might say, Oh, okay, all right, we'll tell me more, but I need more feedback, and I guess people want like it's too much. Right. So we picked an enemy and our enemy was something called the annual performance review. And you laugh, eighty percent of people at that time use the word hate. Maybe they still do to describe annual perform I don't know how you Joe, do you like angle performance reviews? I live for him. No, it's the terrible everyone hates them. Right. So, yeah, we led with a message of performance reviews don't work, there's a better way. Now, you don't even know. I didn't say it was feedback, coaching, a recognition. But now, if you hate performance reviews, if you're part of that audience, you would lean and you would say, Oh yeah, my people do hate performance okay, well, what is it? Right, and you more, tell me more, and that's all you want. You want people to lean in and say tell me more. Right. So performance reviews are the enemy, in some cases the enemy. You know, one of my favorite examples of this is Chicago Company called Trunk Club. That true? Do you ever hear Trunk Club? Is that? Yeah, yeah, I think I might have been a subscriber for a little bit. What does Trunk Club do? Or they were acquired by Norchtrom, but they are still around. They would send built out boxes of clothes for people who basically can't style themselves or do don't want to spend the time to go to the store and pick out things. That's right, that's right. And so what what was their enemy? What was there at would you say? What was their enemy? I mean, for me it was my girlfriend says I dressed terribly. So I want to the enemy is being the the unstylish loser in the corner. Yeah, like I don't want to be that guy who doesn't, you know, dress properly. Right. And yet so the say, okay, great, I want to dress better. Okay, but their whole premise, and this is what they led with, men want to look good, but they hate to shop. Right, Bingo. So shopping is the enemy. Now if you're a man. Now they cater to men. Initially, I think they do more than just men that, but if you were a man and you like to shop, then you would kind of look down and like our, this is not for me, and that's good, right. The company's helping you decide whether that solution is right for you or not. So men want to look good but they hate to shop. That that's you. People love feedback at work, but they hate performance reviews. Right. These are all statements that are very polarizing to help people understand very quickly whether or not your solution is for them. And it doesn't even go into like, well, what it is like, the fact that it's a box of clothes they ship, they ever met? No one cares. Yes, right, and so that's the first premise. Is, how are you polarizing your audience so that you attract like minded customers that are willing to hear about your kind of solution? I think that's brilliant, because you are. You're putting almost the lead qualification on them. Right. You're saving so much time for your sales development team, your business developing team. They don't have to go in and check different at to be is to make sure they're they're a good lead. The leads are doing themselves. That's exactly right. Self selecting. It's like you're holding up a lightning rod saying, if you believe, we're going to get into this number three, if you believe what I believe, come with me on this journey. Right. So that's the first thing. The second thing is a concept I call juxtaposition, or comparison, you know, or contrast. You know, people call it different things.

I have in my article on my website I call a juxtaposition, but oftentimes, you know, I describe it as contrast, which is kind of helping people understand the difference between what you're asking them to do or or understand why you're asking them to do what they're doing. Like. So I'll give you an example. So I could show you a picture. I don't have it right here, but I could show you a picture of Arctic ice right taken from a satellite photo, and I could ask you, is global warming like a thing? And you might look at that, you might say, I don't know, it looks like there's ice there. I don't I don't get it right. But if I showed you that same picture from thirty years ago, you would see something different. You would see way more ice. You'd say, Hey, well, now this contrast that you're creating is helping me understand like this current versus future state. And what's interesting is that a lot of selling systems and a lot of sales trainers do focus on creating that contrast, like what's the desired future state very, very important, but I find oftentime sellers and marketing organizations are challenged to figure out, like, what are the words I'm supposed to use to say to create that contrast right, and so to pull a page from the rippled playbook again, rather than saying, for example, we figured out a new way of engaging and empowering your team, and you're kind of sitting there and you're thinking, okay, what was the old way? I don't do I need a new way. I think the way I'm doing it now it's kind of good, right. Instead, I lead with the message performance reviews don't work. Here's the new way of engaging and empowering your team. So I'm creating a bit of contrast. I'm like, this thing doesn't work. Here's what you need to do now. And I'll give another example. I'm curious to kind of get your take from the prospective of outreach. Is Not a test, but I'm giving you lots of time to kind of work this up. The the idea behind creating contrast, behind what you do, can also be applied to simple things like signs. So, for example, again on the article my website, I show this example of a sign that says please pick up after your pet. You know you're in the park, dogs are running around as please pick up after your pet, and some people, most people hopefully, will pick up after their pet, but oftentimes some people won't, and so they change the sign. Instead of saying please pick up after your pet, it'll say children play here, please pick up after your pet. Right. And so the idea behind that contrast, even in just a few extra words, inspires people to act because now they know, oh, performance reviews of the enemy. That's what doesn't work. Do this. Children play here. I should not throw my, you know, my dog stuff around, like I'm not going to act with more intent. Right. So the idea is when you're describing what you do and like well, what is that reach do? I'm not I don't want to put you on the spot too much here, but this idea of how you creating contrast and comparison in how you describe what you do. Right, and we try to do that by by focusing on the performance of a single rep so, yes, like you said, is the performance of one member of my team bad? Is that bad? I think it's okay. Yeah, that's great. I'm sure it's fine, but how about if that rep performed at x but they're currently doing? Can you imagine the benefits and bottom line in efficiency in just about every aspect of your entire sales process if everyone's performing three x their current rate? That's pretty good improvement. That's a future state. We like to show them immediately. Yeah, exactly the exactly the contrast. You know, even if you're using data, you know companies that do things this way experience this output, but if you were to do it this other way, boom, there's the output. What are they doing? Well, it doesn't matter what they're doing. Like you want to know, I'll tell you. Tell me more and Lena, tell me more. That's all you want, is you just want the lean in and and part of the problem is most of us again, they we just lead with like what it is. It's an online service that does a BANC which could be okay for some people, but again, most of us buy based on feelings and emotion. So that's the second piece is how are you creating that contrast, that juxtaposition? The third piece is kind of burying it all together,...

...and a lot of these you know, these principles are somewhat similar. And you know, I call it conviction, and convictions a word right. The conviction is very, very intoxicating. You know, oftentimes you probably had this experience where you listen to someone who seemed to know an awful lot about what they were talking about and whether it was their product, whether was the market, and there they weren't stumbling, they weren't stuttering, they seem very clear and concise and had a high degree of emotional response around what they were talking about, and it's very intoxicating. You want to believe those people. You want to believe those people and this idea that words, when Said and articulated in a certain way, can be very persuasive. And there's a lot again, there's lots of data. That's why, you know there's lots of day. There's lots of science around this. But so the idea is okay, well, great. How do you muster conviction? And the way I to use a personal example, often times, what I'm talking to a client, I'll pause and I'll say, can you tell that I love what I do, and they'll smile like you did just now, and they'll say yeah, and I'm like well, well, great. How can you tell how, let mean, how can you tell I love what I do? Joe, well, you speaking with passion. You always seem to have an answer for everything I'm asking. You're smiling, your direct eye contact. For All the people that listening to just audio only, we're doing this over video and I can see David and he's very engaged. That's right. Well, thank you very much. I do love what I do. The question I ask people, as they say, when you call out your customers to talk about what it is you do, can they tell that you love what you do? If you love what you do? Right, it's almost like the way I can. I have three kids and so when my kids come to me and they're about to ask me a question, they're asking me they're going to my daughter's going to hit me up for money, or can I have this? Can I've I can feel it before they ask the question. You know, those of you out there, you've experienced this where like a kid comes up to you and before they open their mouth they're like, before you say anything, the answers know what's your question. Right, it's like I can feel it. I can feel it. And so the question is, when you approach your customers and you have your amazingly polished pitch and all these things that you're going to put them into the sale cycle and you're going to do with them and for them. How does that make them feel? Right? Do they feel like you're very passionate about what you do and you can help them, or do you feel do they feel like you're bothering them? Or, more importantly, do you feel like you're bothering them? You know, the the problem often times I see, and I've managed a lot large teams of young sales reps, is that oftentimes they're being told to, you know, make the calls, Hustle. It's the end of the month. Never been a better time to buy. Essentially, Joe, I want you to go and I want you to bother your customers until they buy something from us. No, no, I think you mean being persistent. Think that's the turn you want? Yeah, well, I think there's a difference in professional persistence. But look, I'll give you this. Let's say, for example, your job was to call people who won't just one ten million dollars in the lottery, okay, and you're calling those people now. You would probably be like super you want to call me to tell me I want ten million dollars. You're going to be super excited. Okay, if you don't get me, you get my voice belt, you're going to want to call you back and call me back and, like David, you are going to want to speak to me because there is some amazing news I have for you, and when you laid that news on me, I'd be like, oh my gosh, this is amazing. Right. And so there's it's okay to be persistent if you have the conviction that this is going to add a lot of value to the customer and they are going to feel that way as well. The challenges when you don't feel that you're going to add value and you feel like you're about to bother the customer because someone's making you make phone calls because they're measuring you in a certain metric, then the challenge becomes that that comes through in your voice and I can tell that you feel your bothering me, and so conviction important. So what do you say to someone like me who just always sounds kind of disheveled and kind of Hugh grant ass and has trouble stringing together? I know I write for a living, but I have trouble...

...stringing together sentences. But I'm convicted. I love what I do, I love outreach, I love being a host of a podcast, but I may not come across that way nude. How do you do it? Oh, the Hugh grant term, Joe, we thank you for putting your finger on it, because I was, you know, and as and looking at you this whole time. Now I find this word. It's what's coming from. But no, here's the thing with conviction. You remember you ever watch Seinfeld? It's sure, yeah, of course. So there were. I always talk about this so that they have it. There's an episode of Seinfeld where Jerry was watching a TV show. I'm a child. I grew up in the seventy so anyways, so there was a show in the s called Melrose place, which was kind of this trashy, kind of Beverly Hill spinoff show. Anyway, so he's watching the show melrose place and he's he's dating this girl and the girl says, are you watching melrose place? And he's like no, I would never watch that show. anyways, the girl end up is, it happens to be a police officer and says I could put you on the lie detector and we can find out if you're really watching the show. Right. So now he's he's doesn't want to get caught the lie detector. So he goes to his buddy George Costanza, and he says, George, you're the best liar I know. Tell me how to beat the lie detector. Do you remember what George told him? No, I don't remember this episode, but I wouldn't get named about metros place. It's like good trash. Yeah, I know it's good, so he says. So just so, George says, here's the my best advice. It's not a lie if you believe it. You know. I'm sure all the listeners out there, you probably you know what I'm talking about. Says it's not a lie you believe it, and that's actually, ironically, what I think about when I think about conviction, which is how are you anchoring your thoughts and emotions on a feeling that you deeply believe in? Right, like, you may not believe in everything that you're selling, but, like, what is the one thing that you can absolutely anchor yourself on? And one of the ways that you can anchor yourself very powerfully is using the concept of beliefs. Right. So if you think about something that you believe in. You know, I believe everyone has a right to an education, or I believe that men and women should paid the same. Whatever it is that you believe in, if it's deep rooted enough, you can manifest it with high conviction. So the question is for your company, question is what does our company believe another's? I actually have a debt at whole article about how to leverages. If you if anyone out there is a fan of Simon Sinex, start with why. You know, companies, the ideas companies. They don't buy what you do. They buy why you do it. So, for example, back in my days at sales force, Mark Bennie will get up on stage a dream force and say something like we believe it, sales force, you should be able to run your business from your phone, right. Or folks at apple might say, well, we believe that the user should be at the center of everything we do. We believe that beautiful design is the top priority and the form and function should follow the design. You know, or Elon Musk would say. You know, I believe I've this vision for the future of the planet where we live. Sustainably. Where we're in it, where we do all these things and people buy beliefs. Okay, they don't buy the product. When you buy an apple product, you get the feeling of coolness and all the things that go along with that. Right, you buy a tesla, you get a great car, but you get the feeling of all the coolness that goes around that. And so the question is for you and your business, what is it that you believe and how do you lead with what you believe, because the belief is actually going to be what anchors you with high conviction in your pitch. Yeah, I mean, I think makes a lot of sense, something I definitely need to work on and there's definitely a belief here I'll reach that the salesperson is the lifeblood of any company. There are the integral heart of the organization, and so if I anchor myself in that, maybe I will sound less hugh grantish and more Jovic colhood. So that's that's great and I'll definitely be practicing what you were preaching. David, if there was one takeaway from today's talk that you want to leave the listeners, what would that be? Yeah, look, you know we can talk about messaging all day long or some of the other things that we...

...can talk about all day long. The biggest thing that I would share with the listeners is is empathy. Sell the way you buy. That's it. Sell the way you buy. If you're about to engage in a tactic and I reach to a particular customer, I messaging, whatever, whatever it is, stop and ask yourself, would it work on you if you were the buyer and someone called you up or rang you up or send you an email with this which you're about to do? What it work on you? Sell do it. It's a good advice and I have a feeling you have that tattooed somewhere, but people should remember that and I think it's it's short and sweet and that's perfect enough to really influence how someone's going to sell every day. So thank you so much, David. If people wanted to get a hold of you, how would they do that? Yeah, look, the best place check on my website, cerebral sellingcom. You can always hit me up on Linkedin as well. That's probably the easiest way. I always love to connect with people. I always love to help. I give all my content away for free. You don't have to register sign up for anything. If you do want to sign up for a week we news letter, that's awesome. But you know, you know, when you think about beliefs, I believe that sales is the best profession in the world when it's done correctly, and I would love nothing more than a future when where we tell people that you know, we're in sales and people you know they stand up and give us a round them applause for all the good we do in the world right instead of the opposite, which is what it is now. But yeah, website linkedin always great. Three will sellingcom well day what you're doing your part to make that future reality. So thank you so much and thank you to all of our listeners for tuning in today. I'm your host, Joe Vig Nolo, and we will see you next time on the sales engagement podcast. This was another episode of the sales engagement podcast. Join US at sales engagementcom for new episodes, resources and the book on sales engagement coming soon. To get the most out of your sales engagement strategy, make sure to check out outreach die oh the leading sales engagement platform. See you on the next episode.

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