Close more deals by selling the way you buy

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This is a podcast episode titled, Close more deals by selling the way you buy. The summary for this episode is: <p>How many of us ignore salesy, impersonal emails, and unprepared cold calls—only to turn around and use the same approach with our own prospects? If it doesn’t work on us, why do we think it will work on them? David Priemer, Founder and Chief Sales Scientist at Cerebral Selling, shares how to sell the way you buy. You’ll learn how to take the buyer’s perspective, build trust more quickly, and sell in a way that aligns with what really drives people to action.</p>
What is "Cerebral Selling?"
00:53 MIN
Why doesn't anyone like salespeople?
01:23 MIN
How to follow up contentious questions
01:11 MIN
Don't abstract a human
00:40 MIN
Data Breakout: How do video calls affect close rates?
01:04 MIN
Reactance: Don't push your prospect away
01:48 MIN
Achieving the undetectable sales pitch
02:14 MIN
We're not takes time
00:39 MIN
Sales, in a word
00:50 MIN
Micro-action: Focus on connecting
00:49 MIN

Devin Reed: Welcome to Reveal, the revenue intelligence podcast powered by Gong. We're your hosts, Devin Reed...

Sheena Badani: ...and I'm Sheena Badani. Revenue intelligence is a new way of operating based on customer reality instead of opinions, making data- driven decisions based on facts instead of opinions or guesswork.

Devin Reed: It's made up of three success pillars, people intelligence, deal intelligence, and market intelligence, the things all revenue teams need and care about. Every week we interview senior revenue professionals and share their stories and insights on how they leverage revenue intelligence to drive success and win their market.

Sheena Badani: You'll hear how modern go- to- market teams win as a team, close revenue with critical deal insight, and execute their strategic initiatives, plus all the challenges that come along with it. So Devin, you've been in sales and now marketing for some time, and it is not a secret that the use of data has increased pretty significantly in how we talk about sales and how sales folks manage their teams. It's something that's pretty close to your own heart and your own experiences as well.

Devin Reed: Yes, most definitely. I think when I started in sales, I thought it was more slick talking, psychology. Can you be persuasive? That was my perception of great salespeople. I admittedly got introduced to the concept of data and sales through Gong before I even worked here, four or five years ago. I saw a blog post that Chris Orlov had written, which was kind of like the first sales stat, I think, that we published, which was talk time. What is the ideal talk time for buyers and sellers, specifically trying to help sellers be more productive? So I think at that time, it really clicked that," Whoa, there's this new way to measure persuasiveness, to measure these soft skills or these'I was born with them' sales skills. You can't learn them type of things."

Sheena Badani: Right, right.

Devin Reed: Now I'm just, I don't know, neck- deep, eye- deep in data and sales, and I love it. It is one of the coolest parts of my job, for sure, and I love seeing how it's not just happening in a silo. It's not just me or not just Gong, but people across the sales community are genuinely adopting a data- minded approach to their pipeline, to their forecast, to their discovery calls and anything and everything in between. I love it.

Sheena Badani: Yeah, and David Priemer, who's our guest today, he's definitely one of those folks.

Devin Reed: For sure.

Sheena Badani: He has a community that's built around him that is that intersection of psychology and data and sales and how they all fit and tie together. I found our conversation really fascinating from the kickoff, where he talks about his own title, which is Chief Sales Scientist. I had never heard that before. So that gives you a little bit of a setup for where the conversation is going to end up going. But if you are like Devin and myself and you find these concepts fascinating, I think you will really enjoy this conversation with David.

Devin Reed: If you can't get enough of David and sales and science and psychology, you can check out his book, Sell the Way You Buy. You can pick it up via the link in the show notes. Let's go hang out with David. Thanks for joining us. I have been a kind of a distant fan for a while, so it's nice to have you on the show.

David Priemer: Oh, no, my pleasure. Thanks for having me, both of you.

Devin Reed: So you're the founder and chief selling scientist at Cerebral Selling. Can you give me a quick overview of what Cerebral Selling means and what it's all about?

David Priemer: Yeah, I mean, Cerebral Selling is a modern sales training practice that helps modern sellers essentially sell the way they buy. When I say sell the way they buy, I really mean two different dimensions. So number one, there's an element of empathy, meaning as sellers, we tend to sometimes fall back into habits where we execute tactics that wouldn't work on us if we happened to find ourselves in the buying side. There's an empathetic component. But the second part and actually, in my view, is almost much more important is the pathways and mechanisms by which people, human beings make purchasing decisions are something that's very hidden for most people. We actually don't understand the drivers behind how we decide everything from the software we buy to what we ordered for lunch to who to even marry, right? So this idea of really picking apart this art and science of modern selling from the perspective of empathy and the tactics, that's what Cerebral Selling is all about.

Devin Reed: I'm curious already. I want some examples, but not yet. You have a first- time title, which is something that we always enjoy, which is Chief Sales Scientist. You know this question's coming. Can you share what that means and maybe what you're focused on right now?

David Priemer: Yeah. Well, I wish I could tell you that this was all some big grand design that," Oh, I thought about Cerebral Selling for years, and it was finally"... It was like, no, I just in my last VP of Sales role needed a website to store all the content that I had created over the years. I actually started my career as a research scientist over 20 years ago in kind of the science and engineering background. So I'm like," Oh, I like to think I'm very cerebral." So I'm like," Oh, Cerebral Selling. URL's available. Boom. Off you go." Then I was thinking for a title, Chief Sales Scientist sounded pretty good, because there's lots of founders and CEOs, but I liked the idea of kind of the rigor that being a scientist and experimenter comes with. It's what I did before. It's someone who loves to learn, who loves to figure things out, and then just does the best to share what they've learned with those they can help. So Founder and Chief Sales Scientist seemed like a good fit, and you'd be surprised. People reach out to me all the time, especially on LinkedIn." Oh, I love the title. Where'd you get that from?" I wish there was a better story, but no, that's it.

Devin Reed: You must have some marketing chops as well, because you've crushed alliteration as Chief Selling Scientist of Cerebral Selling. So it's easy to remember.

Sheena Badani: That researching background is still evident, because you are also an author. So you've gone really, really deep into sales and understanding the ins and outs of it from your perspective. You recently wrote a book called Sell the Way You Buy, so congrats on the launch of that. One of the questions that your book focuses on is do you ever wonder why you don't like talking to salespeople? So it's exactly that, getting back into that seat of being a buyer. Tell us more about how did that question come up? Why is that important?

David Priemer: Yeah. Well, I mean, we all stand on the shoulders of giants, and one of my favorite sales books is Dan Pink's book, To Sell Is Human. In To Sell Is Human, he asked people, he says," Look, selling is the number one profession in America," one out of nine people, I believe, and I talk about this in my book, too, are are in some kind of bonafide sales title role, although the majority do a ton of selling or moving people in our jobs. So he asked people. He said," What's the first word that comes to mind when I say sales or selling?" He made a little word cloud of this research, and 80% of the words are visceral negative, like pushy, sleazy, manipulate, negative reaction. We all feel that way. I ask that. I could be in a ballroom, giving a talk to 1, 000 sales reps, and I say," Show of hands, who here likes talking to salespeople?" Right? Very few hands go up. So the question is, well, why is that the case? One of the things that Dan Pink talks about is this concept of information asymmetry. So I still believe that's primarily why people don't like talking to salespeople. So what does information asymmetry mean? It means whenever we're trying to buy something from someone, we always believe that they have more information about that product or service or even their motivations than we do. So I go to buy the used car. I don't know if it's a piece of crap or it's actually a good car. The salesperson probably knows that, but I don't, right? Even today he argues that information asymmetry is being replaced by information parity, meaning you want to go buy something online, there's Amazon reviews. There's G2 Crowd. There's Glassdoor. There's this democratization of these insights. Yet we still don't like talking to salespeople, because," Hey, look, I don't know how you're compensated. I don't know why you're saying these things. I don't know what your motivations are." So whenever we have that kind of lack of trust or authenticity, it breeds this fear. That's why, in general, we don't like talking to salespeople. We're always questioning," What do they want out of this?" Right? So that's primarily why.

Sheena Badani: That makes a lot of sense. I can kind of understand being in the seat of that buyer. I can empathize with that perspective a lot. What can sales folks do to break down that front and build some of that trust so that buyers don't feel like,"Okay, the person on the other side I'm talking to, they have all this information that they're not sharing with me"?

David Priemer: There's so many different dimensions to that question, because it touches on how we prospect, how we do discovery, how we handle objections. So I'll give you one example, right? How do we break down that trust? Oftentimes in sales, we like to ask what I call contentious questions, right? So let's say we're having a conversation, and I'm going to try and sell you something. Let's say I work for Gong, and you're a customer of mine. Then I say," So Sheena, I know we've been talking about this Gong purchase. I'm curious. What's your budget for this project?" See, when I say," What's your budget?", all of a sudden, you get all defensive, right? Imagine you go into a car dealership, and the car salesperson is like," So how much do you have to spend on this car?" Right? The same thing happens when I say," Sheena, what would the signing process for this look like in your company? Devin, who do you report to at your company?" So we ask these questions, which as salespeople we're trained to do, but in the mind of our customer at night... When I say customer, by the way, I also think sell the way you buy means we are customers, too. We buy stuff all the time. We get prospected in, too. We find ourselves on that side. So when we get asked those questions, we get all defensive." Why are they asking? What are they going to do with the information?" It's the same thing. If I said," Devin, can I just ask how much money do you make?" Right? You would never necessarily think of it, but it's a totally legitimate question. So what's actually happening? When the gears are turning in your head, what's actually happening? This is a concept I'll borrow from a negotiation book that I really, really like. It's called Getting More by Stuart Diamond. Stuart Diamond's a business school professor at the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, and he has this concept he talks about, is the pictures in the other person's head. So when I ask you," What's your budget?", what's the picture that's going on in the mind of the buyer? You're thinking about things like," Why is he asking? When I tell him, if I tell him, what's he going to do with that information? Should I low ball? Because then"... So just a very simple thing we teach around getting around these contentious questions is whenever you ask a contentious question, follow it up with a very... I call it the simple reasoning phrase, which is," The reason I ask is because... Devin, how much money do you make? The reason I ask is because one day I would love to do what you do. But I have a good job now. I'm just wondering, am I taking a pay cut to do what you do?" So when we start giving..." Can I ask you, Sheena, what's your budget for this project? The reason I ask is because a lot of the clients that I speak to don't have budgets set aside for this yet. If that's the case with you, that's okay, too." So I'm just giving you this example. Now, there's actually quite a lot of science wrapped up in how I've handled that, "The reason I ask is because..." but there's so many different ways, tactics like that that people can use that align with how people buy to help establish that trust and open communication.

Sheena Badani: That is such a great tip. I think sometimes some discovery questions can really come off as quite interrogative for the buyer. You're just peppering me question after question. I don't know why you need this information. So just adding a little bit more context and clarity and taking a moment to provide that can be really, really valuable in helping to build a little bit more trust in those conversations.

David Priemer: Can I give you another example, actually, from lessons learned from Gong?

Sheena Badani: Please.

David Priemer: Yeah. So one of the things that I talk about this in my book, and I love the data that you all put out there. You have some statistics around webcam usage, and I think it's actually especially relevant now, during the pandemic, when we can't go onsite to meet our customers. I'll tell you, actually, when I was at Salesforce, I used to run small business sales for the Eastern US at Salesforce. When I started and I took over my team, I had one- on- ones with all the reps, different cities, different territories. I said," What's one thing you would go and tell yourself back six months ago, 12 months ago, that you would have loved to have known now?" Hands down, the number one thing was," I wish I had gone into the territory in- person sooner." The idea is when we meet people in person, all sorts of emotional barriers get broken down. So Gong, I know you have some great data that talks about increased close rates when webcam usage is present in a selling conversation, and it's true. The question is why does that happen? Why does webcam usage somehow increase our close rates? It's a scientific principle known as abstraction. The easiest way I can describe it is let's say you're driving in your car, and some jerk cuts you off in traffic. I don't know if this has ever happened to you. What do you do? Devin, what happens when some jerk cuts you off in traffic? You're a nice person. I would preface this by saying that.

Devin Reed: I used to be a less nice person. I used to get pretty upset. I would say these days, I take a deep breath and I just let it go. But that's probably a six- month new habit.

David Priemer: That's good. We won't go into detail about what you did before. But let's say, for example, you start saying things and you start yelling or shaking your fist or doing things that would be inconsistent with the lovely person you are now. But ask yourself, if you knew who the person in the other car was, would you act that way? Would you?

Devin Reed: Absolutely not. I have a story of having done that, which was getting cut off, we'll just say flipping them off, and we'll leave it there, dot, dot, dot, getting to my location, and seeing it was someone I knew, who I was about to go play basketball with, which was a very embarrassing thing. Now, to be fair, we were both going at each other. We had had some exchanges, but I would say I did learn after that," Hey, I should probably, one, not get so upset, but two, it helps if you know who's in that car."

David Priemer: For sure. Yeah, because now there's some sense of familiarity, and they've done behavioral science experiments in this area as well. When there's a certain amount of familiarity, even if it's just showing someone a picture, you see people in occupational health and safety roles. Let's say I'm driving a forklift, right? What do I do? I have a little picture of my family, my kids right there on the dash to remind me why I'm doing it. That's what abstraction is. So abstraction is when we create this distance. Our job as salespeople is to remove that distance, remove that abstraction. So that's why when we do video calls, again, people hate talking to salespeople. They love buying stuff. They hate talking to salespeople. So if you're trying to prospect into me on LinkedIn or you're sending me an email, I get to picture you like the villain, however I like, right? Now, all of a sudden, we're on video. You are more likely to open up to me. You're more likely to be interested in what I've got going on in the background here. I'm now not the enemy. I'm a real person, right? So it's very humanizing, and it has a huge impact on our close rates.

Sheena Badani: All right, everyone. In every episode, we have a data breakout, a quick sidebar to look at the data. David shared the concept of abstraction, the emotional barriers that fall away when we see each other as real people, and why turning on your webcam can actually build familiarity and boost your close rate. Our Gong labs data backs that up. Gong's research team analyzed 12, 282 sales opportunities from 2020. They looked specifically at video and its connection to win rates across SMB and enterprise sales cycles. It turns out that deals are 127% more likely to close when video is used during any point in the sales process. Even the buyer's use of video works in our favor, sending win rates up by 96%. That means selling with video not only helps us create a deeper connection with our customers, but can also have a dramatic impact on our ability to influence them. Stay tuned to the microaction at the end of the episode for tips to help you build a stronger connection during sales calls.

Devin Reed: I'm curious, though. I used to see pictures of people... People's email signature would have a picture of their face on it, and I never understood why. I thought maybe it was just," I love the way I look" or" Here's a great photo." That's always a possibility. But do you think... You see where I'm going with this. Would you say," Hey, putting your picture and your signature for an outbound," I don't know, prospecting email, would that help?

David Priemer: Absolutely. It will help. It's funny. It's almost in an email, I feel it kind of helps a little bit, but I have no data to back me up on this, helps a little bit more than in a LinkedIn profile, because everyone's got their picture on their LinkedIn profile.

Devin Reed: Right.

David Priemer: But even things like the use of video, there's lots of tools where you can send people asynchronous video. A tool that I use often is a tool called GoVideo by a company called Vidyard. It's like a free Chrome plugin, and it lets me record little, few- minute videos and send them to people, even from a prospecting perspective. So you don't have to be on a Zoom meeting, and even just them seeing you is powerful, not just because they're seeing you in person, but the other kind of secret little tactic that's baked into that is the fact that you put in the effort to make a custom little video for someone.

Devin Reed: Right.

David Priemer: It triggers their sense of reciprocity. If you want even a simpler example of that, you're prospecting to someone on LinkedIn. I don't know about you all. I get prospected on LinkedIn from so many different dimensions." Oh, you're a small business owner. You're this. You're that." It's staggering to me, especially in the last year that we've been in the pandemic, how little research and effort people put into the prospecting, almost to the point where I'm sitting there, scratching my head, saying," Do you even know what the hell it is I do? I don't run a call center. I'm not a Salesforce implementation partner. I don't know why you think this." Right? Now, imagine if you just did a teensy- weensy little bit of research, right, to show me that you put in the effort. Never mind the video. I am going to be much more likely not necessarily to buy something from you, but at least to get back to you and tell you no, do you the courtesy of telling you no. Otherwise, if you're just a drive- by kind of connect and pitch, there's no relationship. There's no effort. There's no reciprocity. So all these little things that we take for granted make a huge difference in your ability to convert customers.

Devin Reed: Completely agree. To tie the two together, to prep for this interview today, I went to your website and watched a video of you for my research so I felt like I could know you a little bit more, because that's what Sheena and I as interviewers, the sooner you can get to know somebody that first five, ten minutes, you have a better conversation afterwards. It's very rare you just spark a great conversation with someone you've never met before. So that was my goal. So I can say... Oh, I don't know if we're hitting it off, David. I'll leave it up to you at the end of this episode crosstalk.

Sheena Badani: (laughing).

David Priemer: I think it's going pretty good.

Devin Reed: I'd like to go back to something where you said there's plenty of ways that we as sellers sell, but we don't buy the same way. Can you share some more examples of that that might be relevant or common for people listening?

David Priemer: Yeah. One of the things I often talk about is what people refer to as closing techniques, right? So we're on the phone or we're on the Zoom. We're having a good conversation, and the deal is heading in the right direction. I say," So hey, Devin, Sheena, do you think there's any reason why we wouldn't be able to get a deal done in the next couple days?" Right? What's going on in your mind? All of a sudden, you're starting to feel this pressure, right? This pressure of," Well, hold on a second. Now I feel like my freedom to choose is being restricted." Interestingly, you see this a lot, and it's actually... I love sales lessons, by the way, from non... We talk a lot about B2B technology sales and so on. I love sales lessons from life, not just bonafide selling situations, like when, for example, you walk into the Gap, right? You walk into a clothing store. You're in the mall. You walk into the Gap, and there's someone at the front who says," Excuse me, sir. Can I help you find something?" What do you say? Sheena, what do you say?

Sheena Badani: "I'm just browsing."

David Priemer: "I'm just browsing."

Sheena Badani: "Leave me alone."

David Priemer: Yeah, because if I say I need help, even if you do need help, I'm essentially giving you consent to do your sleazy sales stuff to me, right? So that's a micro example of what I refer to as a closing tactic. It's like we're trying to limit the other person's freedoms kind of to choose. It's like when I see a sign that says," Don't walk on the grass," I think to myself," This is some pretty awesome grass. I've never wanted to walk on it."

Devin Reed: I do the same thing. You just validated me. I'm like," It's probably the best grass ever. I want to take my shoes off and walk on this grass."

David Priemer: Yeah. What's so special? It's the same thing when we see a sign that says," Wet paint. Don't touch." We're like," Hold on a second." Then we want to put our finger on the... It's true. It is wet paint, because the sign told me I couldn't do it. So a lot of times in our selling motion, even, for example, you're prospecting in to someone. You say," Oh, hey, Sheena, I help marketing leaders like you do A, B, and C and do this result. I'd love to chat for 15 minutes. How's Tuesday at two PM?" You're thinking to yourself," Who the hell is this guy and why picking Tuesday at two PM? That's very presumptuous." I think as the seller, I'm making it easy for you. All you have to do is say yes, but when I limit your ability to choose, it makes you lash out. It's a principle known as reactance. I talk about it in the book. That's actually why, again, you go to the Gap, and people don't pounce on you on the Gap. They don't say," Oh, excuse me, sir. Can I help you find something?" What do they have? Actually, the research I've seen on this area is amazing. They have someone at the front of the store folding shirts, folding shirts like they're busy, they're doing something, and they do that on purpose so that when they ask you, they go," Hey, can I help you with something?," it's almost like you're interrupting them. They're taking time out of their schedule to help you. If they were just there in a state of cat- like readiness, ready to pounce on you, you would be resistant. But no. In fact, sometimes what they'll do is they'll say," Sheena." I don't know your name, Sheena, but they'll say," Ma'am, I'm just going to go into the back. I've just got to get some more shirts. I'll be back out in a couple minutes. Look, if you need my help, I'll be back then." They do that on purpose, right? So the tactics that wouldn't work on us are some of these high- pressure... not even high- pressure, but low- pressure closing tactics, things that we think are helping close the gap, which are actually really pushing our customers away.

Sheena Badani: Another kind of interesting approach, I think, to kind of break down those barriers that I've seen in the retail space is every time I've been to a Michael Kors store, and it is a pattern, because it has happened at least 10 times or more. Right when I walk in the door, the saleswoman, it's usually women, or the salesperson will compliment me on something." Oh, I really love that. That color looks so nice on you" or" I love your shoes." One day when I went in there in basically my scrubby sweatpants and stuff, I'm like," Okay, there is no way," but they still found a way to compliment me on something. So I'm like," This is something they're clearly being trained on." So I'm curious. Is there a way to bridge that to B2B selling?

David Priemer: It's true. It's funny. I find myself repeating this consistently in my training, and this is actually one of the biggest challenges that sales reps have, is that we can learn the tactics that will produce the result we're looking for. So one of the biggest tricks when it comes to selling tactics and modern sales tactics is not just understanding the tactics, because we teach our reps lots of things that they can intellectually understand, but when they go out and they actually do them, they suck. They do them in a very robotic way. We ask questions to customers like this polite interrogation. We handle objections in a way that we believe that we were taught to do, and yet still result in the customer getting pissed off. The reason that happens is because we're not yet in tune with the specific tone, the specific emotion that we need to use. So the thing that I actually end up repeating in so many of my training sessions is that all of these tactics that I'm going to teach you are very powerful, but when you use them, they should be one word, which is undetectable. They should be undetectable. It should not feel like I'm having a conversation. The easiest way sometimes I describe it with people is I say," Think about something that you're passionate about, maybe something that maybe someone else isn't passionate about. Maybe it's a kind of music or a sport or a cause," and I say," I want you to talk to me about that thing and tell me why you're so passionate." Right? They would go on." The reason why I love baseball, because as a kid, my father would take me back." It's a very emotionally filled story, and it makes the customer believe you, like," I believe you when you talk about something you're passionate about." But if I asked Devin what's something he's passionate about and said," Sheena, I want you to convince me that you're passionate about that thing," I can tell right... It's the same way I can... I have three daughters, and when one of my girls comes to me and they're about to hit me up for something, they want a lift to the mall, they want to download an app, I can tell in two seconds, right? Just by the way they're like," Dad." I'm like," The answer's no." Right? I get very defensive. So the real trick with all these tactics is making them undetectable, and to make them undetectable, you need to practice, right? You need to practice not just the tactic itself, but the tone so it sounds very human, because so often the tactics that we use, and I'm going to pull a Ricky Bobby and say with all due respect to marketing, right, we love marketing. But what sometimes happens as a seller is the training that we get on how to communicate our value comes from the features and functions of our product." Did you know, Sheena, that version 3. 0 is coming out? 3. 0 has all these great things," and the customers don't give a crap about what's in 3. 0, right? So it's how we deliver it. It's the tone. It's the expressions, and that takes a little bit of time to learn. There are ways we can shortcut it, but undetectable, human- feeling, authentic. That's the nirvana we've got to get to.

Devin Reed: Yeah, it's very similar when you can tell someone's reading versus when they're having an authentic thought, which you heard my pause or the ums or the intonations and the speaking fast. Now I'm thinking. I'm speaking slow, and I'm speaking fast, versus when I'm reading something to you, it's more balanced, but it's less intonation. You can tell immediately.

David Priemer: Yes.

Devin Reed: You can tell on a cold call. That's just an easy version, because you get interrupted, and you can tell. But I love a good cold call with some emotion in there. I appreciate it even more because I know it's practice, because no one is just that smooth and that emotional in a positive way on a cold call unless you really put it in the reps.

David Priemer: For sure. Oh, yeah, no, look, it takes practice. It's funny. Sometimes we look to our kids, because kids are actually great negotiators, right? It's because they're not encumbered by things that we as sellers get encumbered by. If we think that we're kind of... Actually, I talk about this a lot. It's a concept they call experience asymmetry. So Dan Pink talks about information asymmetry. I talk about this concept called experience asymmetry, which you can probably Google. I talk about in my book, and I have a Harvard Business post from a couple years ago on it. So much of selling is a younger, less experienced seller calling on a more senior level decision maker, whose job they've never done. So if I'm a Gong rep and I'm calling on VPs of sales and BDR managers and so on, chances are I've never had that role before. What happens is I become emotionally compromised. It's not like I'm talking about Michael Kors bags or baseball or the thing that I love. I'm not saying you love Michael Kors. You said you were there 10 times. That's actually a lot of times.

Devin Reed: (laughing).That's actually a lot of times.

Sheena Badani: (laughing).I blame it on my mom.

David Priemer: No, it's okay. Look, we've got our habits wherever. But anyway, so it's not like we're talking about something that we love. The challenge is when we get a script from our managers and we're talking about an abstract concept, and look, I'll also say in all fairness to us, most of us do if I can call it regular things, meaning if we were saving starving children in third world countries or curing cancer, you better believe I'm manifesting tons of conviction around that at a very early stage. But we're selling software. I'm training salespeople, writing books. We do normal things, if I can call it normal things. So how do we wrap the passion and conviction and emotion around something that so many other people do, right? There's a lot of mind hacks around that. But the authenticity is something that needs to come through, especially if you're younger and less experienced. This is something I experienced early in my career as well, where customers were making fun of me. I was a solution engineer, so shout out to all you sales engineers out there. I would go into demos of these big airlines and manufacturing companies, and they would say," David, we've got systems in here that are inaudible." Right? So you've got to overcome that. This is making it undetectable, and using some of these tactics is part and parcel of doing that.

Devin Reed: I feel like we've come to a good full circle, but I have one question we haven't asked, which I'm just genuinely curious, David, if there's any other insights or something surprising from your research that you want to put the cherry on top, or we can just go to our closing question.

David Priemer: I think the biggest thing, when you think about the state of modern selling, we're so advanced. I often use the phrase we're living in the future. We're living in the future. With everything going on in the world, we're living in the future. Yet selling is still a fundamental part of what we do, moving people from one position to the next, and the baggage that we carry as sales professionals from years ago, right? That things that don't exist anymore still hold us back. Even the data and the science and the research shows, and this is not surprising, that sales is still one of the lowest professions in terms of feelings of trust that it creates. We're not doctors. We're not nurses. In the 2020 Gallup survey, we're actually below lawyers by a number of pegs, right? But we're good people, Sheena. We're good people, right? So it's still surprising to me that while we live in the future, we still have this legacy that we carry around with us that we need to collectively do better to get rid of, because... and this is actually why when people reach out to me on LinkedIn... Don't do this, by the way. People reach out to me on LinkedIn, and the outreach is so bad and horrible. I should just ignore it. But I think to myself," If you keep doing this, you are going to ruin sales for everyone," everyone, right? Because at the beginning, people don't know are you one of the good ones or one of the bad ones? So we all have to collective... It's like vaccinations. We all have to be vaccinated, right? Otherwise none of it makes a difference. So the thing that is surprising, but not surprising is that kind of the burden of being a professional seller still exists in terms of the emotion that it creates after all these years. With all the technologies, I'm looking at you and so many other technologies that we have to help us get better, if I can summarize it by saying what Dan Pink said in his book, he said," Look, when you can automate the designing of a house and you can automate this and you can automate that, being able to move someone," or I should say when we can automate all these very basic things," being able to move someone requires the same level of sophistication as it does read an MRI scan." Sales, he says, is a thinking person's profession. So it still doesn't surprise me, because it's such an easy and accessible profession to get into, but super important for modern sellers to commit themselves to learning, right, to really embracing this as a profession that is so beautiful and nuanced and seek out the knowledge to get better. It's an ongoing struggle. There's lots of historical levers, but I'd say that's the biggest thing I can share with modern sellers. Just commit yourself to learning and being better every day.

Devin Reed: I like it. I think of that a lot, too, when I think of the competition. If you think of who's your competition, you might think another rep on your team if you're trying to be number one. You might think competitive solutions. I've always had this thought, and I like the way you worded it, which is I'm also competing with every bad sales interaction this buyer's ever had, and I have to overcome that as quickly as possible.

David Priemer: Absolutely. Well, that's why trust and" The reason I ask is because" and" Can I help you find something?", all of these things are these initial interactions where the trust has not been established yet. Trust takes time. Trust takes time. We're not Oprah. We're not Barack Obama. We just can't dispense advice and people just follow it, right? We need to establish that trust, and there's things that we can do, though, that can help establish that trust quickly. But yeah, the buyer- seller relationship is still very much one of initial conflict, I would say.

Sheena Badani: That's why that first touchpoint, that first outreach, you need to show why you're better than the rest and why you're different and why you're going to add value to that buyer.

David Priemer: For sure. Well, the other thing I'll tell you is that as salespeople, we are like the tip of the spear. We are the first interaction, typically. Now, I'm not saying with your website, right? But the first interaction someone has with the company, and it's almost like... I say this all the time. It's like an audition. The sales experience is an audition for what it's going to be like when you eventually become a customer and now we have this long- term relationship together. So if that relationship is bad, and it could be something as simple... I mean, I'll tell you, I've heard of people, for example, where let's say... Shout out to my dad. Okay? So my dad's name is Leslie. People call him Les. He got called by someone who wanted to sell him something, a bank, actually, and a bank he'd been dealing with for years. He's in the database. He's worked with the bank for years, and someone called him up and said," So hey, Leslie." He's like," Oh, let me stop you there. No one calls me Leslie. Everyone calls me Les, and that's something really simple for you to have known, given my relationship with the bank, and it's probably in a CRM somewhere." He didn't convert, and even a simple, small thing like that, spelling mistakes, the way you make people feel, your attention to detail, it all matters, especially in sales.

Sheena Badani: Well, with that, we're at the tail end of our conversation, but we can't let you go until we ask you this one question, which is how would you describe sales in one word?

David Priemer: The word I would use is amazing. That's the high level. It is so beautiful. It's so nuanced. It's so complicated. There's so much history and baggage and potential for everything. I mean, I'm talking about it as though it's a profession I've fallen in love with, which I have for 20 years, which is why I'm so passionate about helping people be better at it. But when you step back, it's just so amazing. It's so nuanced. It's like the giver and taker of all things. It's a very intoxicating profession.

Sheena Badani: That comes through in your tone, in your voice, how you talk about all the different aspects to sales throughout our conversation today. If you like what David talks about and the way he digs into the psychology of selling, check out his book. Again, it's Sell the Way you Buy. It's available everywhere, Amazon, and we were so happy to have you on the show today, David. It's great.

David Priemer: My pleasure. Look, I'm a big fan of what you're all doing over there. Thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure.

Devin Reed: Thanks, David.

Sheena Badani: Every week we like to bring you a micro action, something you can think about or put into play. Selling in a way that doesn't sync up with how we like to buy can trigger resistance. Our job as salespeople is to remove those barriers that disconnect us from the people we're trying to serve. If you're struggling to connect more deeply with buyers, ask yourself these three questions. One, am I using video to connect on a human level and show that I'm actually a real person? Two, am I asking contentious questions like," What's your budget?" without following it up with a simple reasoning phrase like," The reason I ask is because," and last, am I limiting people's ability to choose with questions like," How's Tuesday at two PM?"

Devin Reed: If you liked today's episode, subscribe now so next week's episode will be waiting for you on Monday.

Sheena Badani: If you really liked the podcast, please leave a review. Five- star reviews go a long way to help get the word out there.

Devin Reed: If you're not ready to give it a five, check out another episode and see if we've won you over by then.

Sheena Badani: If you have any feedback or you want us to interview one of your favorite revenue leaders, just email us at reveal @ gong. io.


How many of us ignore salesy, impersonal emails, and unprepared cold calls—only to turn around and use the same approach with our own prospects? If it doesn’t work on us, why do we think it will work on them? David Priemer, Founder and Chief Sales Scientist at Cerebral Selling, shares how to sell the way you buy. You’ll learn how to take the buyer’s perspective, build trust more quickly, and sell in a way that aligns with what really drives people to action.

Today's Host

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Danny Wasserman

|GTM Enablement

Today's Guests

Guest Thumbnail

David Priemer

|Founder and Chief Sales Scientist at Cerebral Selling