Episode Nineteen

How to Use Empathy to Break a Customer’s Armor

Guest: David Priemer, founder and Chief Sales Scientist at Cerebral Selling

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About This Episode

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 salespeople don’t like talking to salespeople. But why is that?

We’ve become so resistant to pitches that as customers, we can sniff out a sales pitch from a mile away. So we’ve got to change the way that we sell. We’ve got to figure out how to break through the customer’s proverbial armor.

We’ve got to sell the way that we buy. However you would want to be sold to, that’s the way you should be selling.

Thankfully, David Priemer, Founder & Chief Sales Scientist at Cerebral Selling, was a guest on the Sales Engagement podcast recently and had a few thoughts on how to do just that.

Polarize Your Audience

Think about the current political landscape. If someone said to you, “I think this candidate is doing a fantastic job, they’re just misunderstood,” you have already made a snap decision on whether or not you’re going to give them the time of day. Whether or not you’re going to listen to them.

How are you, as a company, taking a side, picking an enemy, and leading with that enemy to help your audience self-select.

Take Trunk Club. Trunk Club is an at-home clothing box. It’s curated monthly and sent to your door, and whatever you like, you keep. Whatever you don’t like, you send back.

Trunk Club was initially marketed to men who wanted to look good but hated going to the store. The enemy was the store. So Trunk Club identified the enemy, and it didn’t even really matter what was in the box. The presence of “the enemy” made people sit up and want to know more.

David Priemer: Sales Engagement

But if you’re a man who likes shopping, you’re probably not interested in Trunk Club, which is fantastic. They’re helping you decide what is right for you. By naming the enemy, they’re establishing their customer base.

Give Them an Alternative

But it’s not enough to simply name the enemy.

Think about a park. There are probably signs posted around the park that say something to the effect of, “Please pick up after your pet.”

Most people will do the right thing, but the simple presence of a command isn’t going to persuade everybody to do the right thing. There are still going to be people who don’t pick up after their pet.

But if you simply add a few words, it could change everything. If the signs instead read “Children play here. Please pick up after your pet,” you’ve all of a sudden given people an alternative. There’s a reason they should pick up after their pet.

The same is true for your company.

You might see sales materials that say, “Companies that do things THIS way experience this kind of return. But if you do things THIS way, you’ll experience even more returns or even greater success.”

Lead with contrast. Lead with the alternative.

The Intoxication of Conviction

Have you ever listened to someone speak who seemed to know an awful lot about what they’re talking about? Think about an Apple press conference or a powerful motivational speaker.

There’s a reason that people like Tony Robbins get paid the money they do to speak. Because when they speak, people listen. Their persuasion and conviction are intoxicating.

David Priemer: Sales Engagement

When you approach your customers, can they feel that you’re passionate about what you do? Or do they feel like you’re bothering them?

You may not believe in everything that you are selling. That’s fine. But what is the one thing that you can anchor yourself in that you do believe in?

If it’s rooted deeply enough, you can manifest it with conviction.

David Priemer: Sales Engagement Sales Science

So in order to break the customer’s armor, so to speak, sell the way that you buy. Name the enemy, give them an alternative, and speak and operate with conviction.

If it wouldn’t work on you then don’t do it.

This post is based on a podcast interview with David Priemer from Cerebral Selling. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.

About The Podcast

The Sales Engagement podcast is the #1 podcast focused on engaging your customers and prospects in the modern sales era. This show features real-life stories and best practices from revenue leaders doing the job day in and day out, in a casual, radio-like talk show.

Each episode features modern tactics, strategies, hacks, and tips to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy and help you navigate the next generation of sales. You’ll find energetic talks that will provide you with real actionable value around building meaningful connections and creating a better selling experience through authentic conversations that you can measure.

The Sales Engagement podcast is here to help B2B sales leaders, customer success leaders, and marketing leaders innovate and usher in the next era of modern sales by building pipeline, up-selling customers, and ultimately generating more revenue with more efficiency.

Hosted by Joe Vignolo, Senior Content Managing Editor at Outreach, and Mark Kosoglow, Vice President of Sales at Outreach.

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