Sell the Way You Buy with David Priemer | PoP 469

Sell the Way You Buy with David Priemer | PoP 469

How can listening be a great sales tool? Is your message clear in terms of the clients you want and the product you offer? What does it mean to buy the way you sell?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks to David Priemer about selling the way you buy and how doing so can help you in your business.

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Meet David Priemer

David Priemer is widely recognized as a thought leader in the area of sales and sales leadership and has been published in the Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review as well as Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Inc. magazines. From his early days tinkering with test tubes and differential equations as an award-winning research scientist to leading top-performing sales teams at high-growth technology startups, David’s lifelong passion for learning and execution is the foundation of his Cerebral Selling practice.

Often referred to as the “Sales Professor”, David helps organizations drive revenue growth, people development, and winning cultures by infusing the core principles of science, empathy, and execution into their sales operations.

Visit David’s website and connect on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.


In This Podcast


  • The sea of sameness
  • Recognizing what your clients want
  • Messaging
  • The knowing/doing gap
  • Sell the way we buy

The sea of sameness

People don’t know how good you are at what you do. And people don’t actually care.

We all like to think we’re differentiated to our customers but, to them, we’re just someone who does something that they’ve seen someone else do before. So, how do we differentiate, stand out, and attract the clients we’re looking for? Being good at what you do isn’t enough, people don’t know how good you are or what you do. They don’t walk around thinking about the person or the product, they think about the problems they have, often subconsciously.

It’s incumbent upon practitioners to step up and say this is not just what I do, this is what I believe, and here are the types of clients that I service. Try to make that as unique and differentiated as possible. There are so many people with emotional baggage inside of them but they don’t know what to do with it or where the pain is coming from.

Recognizing what your clients want

You are priming your clients for the kinds of problems you can help them solve. So, even if it’s not clear in their head, they know that this is not taboo, this is like a normal thing that you can help them with. You’re uniquely positioned to help them, so you’re providing that clarity.

When someone has a problem, it usually falls into one of three different buckets:

  1. The known spoken – Problems that they know they have and are very willing to talk about.
  2. The known unspoken – Problems that you, as a clinician, know that they have and the client knows that they have but they don’t want to talk about for reasons like it may be too personal or embarrassing.
  3. The unknown unspoken – You know that they have these problems as you’re the expert but they don’t know they have these problems. They haven’t yet crystallized them.

Highlighting these problems on your website, leading with these enemies, is a great way of getting customers to lean in and show interest. Dig deep and find those biggest fears that people are dealing with because then they will resonate with you as a therapist. Therapists who are able to deeply connect with their audience and put what they are passionate about out there, will be able to attract a lot of like-minded customers because they’re going to see that you’re uniquely positioned to help them compared to other clinicians who just say something very generic.


When it comes to messaging and letting people know what you do, what you’re going to say depends on a couple of things:

  • Who you are talking to – who is the message geared towards?
  • The product – especially now during the pandemic, people are realizing that they need to diversify their products. So, as a clinician, you might offer one-on-one counseling but also virtual therapy.

The way that you describe what you do depends on the person you’re trying to sell to and the products that you’re trying to position to that client.

The knowing/doing gap

Most of your clients’ time is spent not with you. How do you help them drive accountability and bridge that knowing/doing gap? Thinking creatively about how you can meet the clients’ needs before and after the core product e.g. e-course/ebook/membership community. People that can do this really build multiple streams of income in their practice beyond just relying on the therapy.

Sell the way we buy

When you talk about ‘sell the way you buy’, it’s how do you connect with people emotionally using some of these subconscious approaches that people don’t even think about when they’re buying.

  • Don’t use tactics that wouldn’t work on you. Stay attuned to how your clients are feeling, don’t put them through any sleazy or untoward activities.
  • How do we buy? – First and foremost, people buy one thing: feelings. Our minds trick ourselves into thinking we made logical decisions but the way that we buy is actually based on a series of emotions and cognitive bias.
  • We create objections – When we have an objection to something, the thing that we say is the objection is actually not really the objection. These objections are kind of like a facade or the tip of the iceberg, so as a seller, you need to understand the nuance


Reactance can be described as undue pressure. You get asked if there’s something you need help finding and you say no. This can happen at a clothing store, car dealership, anywhere that you would get a sales outreach. We react like this when we feel that our freedom to choose is being restricted and there’s no way you can wiggle out of it so you immediately become resistant.

Books by David Priemer

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Meet Joe Sanok

private practice consultant

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

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Podcast Transcription

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This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 469. I love how sometimes interviews kind of go back to back. So last time we talked about how to build a sales pipeline; today we’re talking about sell the way you buy, which I’m really excited about because when you think about how you buy, you kind of go through some decision making. If you’re going to get a bigger thing, you think through things, you maybe read some information. So, for example, we got a new house a few years ago and we still don’t have a dresser in our bedroom. And we have like this dresser we had used for like diaper changing when the girls were younger, and it has three drawers. It’s just not enough space for what my wife’s clothing needs are. For me, I’m fine with it. So, the amount of investigation and style and decision making that has gone into deciding on a dresser, you know, it’s like, we read blog posts about it, we read reviews about it, we look at pictures of it. If someone was trying to sell me a dresser, and I couldn’t see a picture of it and I didn’t know the dimensions of it and I didn’t know what kind of wood it was made out of and I didn’t kind of have a sense of what it would look like in a bedroom, I wouldn’t buy it. And so, when we think about whether it’s our counseling or an eCourse, or something like that, if we don’t give those details to someone it’s going to be a lot harder for us to… hey, my wife’s here with a green tea latte. Come on in, I’m just recording a podcast. You wanna say hi to the people out in podcast world?

Hi, podcast world. [JOE]:
She couldn’t even get close enough to talk into the microphone. She’s like, don’t make me do this. But that, I mean, that’s the way that we buy is, you know, we think through things usually, especially those bigger purchases. So, whether it’s counseling, or whether it’s podcasting or other things that you’re doing to help the world, you also want to sell the way you buy. So, without any further ado, let’s talk to David about this.

Today in the Practice of the Practice podcast, we have David Priemer. David is widely recognized as a thought leader in the area of sales and sales leadership, and has been published in the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Inc magazines. From his early days tinkering with test tubes and differential equations as an award-winning research scientist, to leading top performing sales teams at high growth technology startups, David’s lifelong passion for learning and execution is the foundation of his practice. He just wrote the book, Sell The Way You Buy. Welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast, David.

Thanks, Joe. It’s great to be here. [JOE]:
Yeah. You know, I love that title, Sell The Way You Buy. And before we get going, we were talking about that a little bit more. But the problem that you kind of said to me before we started rolling was that oftentimes, there’s so many people doing the same thing. There’s so many counselors, therapists, clinicians, even people teaching sales like you… let’s start there. That’s a big problem to overcome. Why do people need to even think through that? [DAVID]:
Yeah, well, you know, there’s a concept that I often talk about, and I talk about in the book called The Sea of Sameness, which is, while we might think that we are delicate snowflakes that are all amazing, and different, and well differentiated, to our customers we’re just one person that does something that they’ve heard someone else do before, right? And so, the question of like, how do we differentiate? And how do we poke out in that sea of sameness and attract the kind of clients that we’re looking for, is challenging, especially since, if I can say, quote unquote, “selling” is not the core part of our job. So that’s what I mean by attracting the right kind of clients and trying to differentiate to do that. [JOE]:
Yeah. And I think when most of us, at least in our field, hear the word selling or sales, and then we hear mental health, we just kind of go, oh, I don’t want to sell to people to get them to come to see me; it should just be that I’m good at what I do. And oftentimes, I think there’s that myth that if I’m good at the work I do, then people will just want to see me and my practice. How do you… when people say that, what are your first thoughts? [DAVID]:
Well, the thing is that people don’t know how good you are, or what you do. And people don’t actually care. I mean, people walk around everyday… and I’m not just saying for clinicians; in any walk of life, people don’t walk around knowing and thinking about the type of person they want to have them, you know, help them or save them or, they don’t think oh, I want a doctor that does this, or coaching that does that, or a salesperson or a product that does A, B and C. They just walk around, oftentimes subconsciously, thinking about the problems that they have, quite frankly; that’s the thing that’s on their mind all the time. So, they don’t have a prototypical image of what they’re looking for. They have a sense of the problem they’re looking to solve. Sometimes that problem isn’t even well crystallized in their head, especially as we’re talking about areas around mental health. As a clinician, you probably have a lot more clarity around the problem that your clients are looking to solve than they do. And so, imagine now you’re a customer. So, you’re your client, walking around, you don’t even know what you’re looking for. So, it’s really incumbent upon us as the practitioners to step up and almost hold our lightning rod up there and say, no, this is what… not just what I do, but here’s what I believe. Here are the type of clients that I service and try to make that as unique and differentiated as possible. [JOE]:
I mean, even when I think about my relationship with my wife, Christina, thinking about when maybe I’m not at my best, and we get in a fight over something, to finally get to the point where it’s like, what does she actually want in this conversation? What do I actually want in this conversation? And when you get to it, usually it’s like, oh, that was really just an emotional reaction. And if I had just been able to clearly think what I wanted, and articulate that, that would have made it so much easier. And I think you’re right, there’s so many people that are kind of walking around with this emotional bag inside of them and they just don’t know what to do with it, and they can’t even put their finger on like where’s this pain coming from? [DAVID]:
Well, absolutely, and what you said is 100% the case. We don’t know where the pain is coming from, we don’t know what the solution is; if we did, then we could probably solve it ourselves. And the job of the clinician, I mean, oftentimes our job is to listen, and that’s what great salespeople do. In fact, there was a study, the 2018 Salesforce State of Selling report. So, for those unfamiliar, Salesforce is one of the biggest technology software companies in the world, you know, 50,000 people, tons of sales reps. I used to work… full disclosure, I used to work for them for five years, many years ago. But they put out this report and they asked salespeople, they said, which of these things have, they said, extreme or substantial impact on your ability to win customers, and the thing that was on the top of the list was listening. It wasn’t the ability to prove return on investment or value or these kinds of things, even industry knowledge, it was just listening. And so, when you tell me the story of your wife, you know, and I think men are… I’ve actually… this is funny, I went through a training session years and years ago, where I remember the trainer said, men are especially bad at this because men jump right into problem solving, instead of listening. Now, I’m sure a lot of the people listening out here who are clinicians are very used to listening to people. But oftentimes listening, there’s so much wrapped up in that, as you know, that it can actually deliver value just by kind of listening and tuning yourself to what the other person wants, so that you can synthesize and help them. [JOE]:
So how can a clinician start to recognize what their clients maybe want, what they’re feeling, before they maybe come in, so that they can then use those emotions in order to attract more clients? [DAVID]:
Yeah, I mean, so there’s lots of different things you can do. One of the things that I often talk about, what I talk about in my discovery content, is I say, whenever someone has a problem, those problems typically fall into 3 different buckets. And the first bucket is what I call the Known Spoken, which are problems that they have, and you know they have. I mean, they wouldn’t be calling you up, or they wouldn’t be in the market for a clinician, or therapist, if they didn’t have these problems. And they’re very willing to talk about those things. And then the second category is what I call the Known Unspoken meaning, you know that most of your clients have these problems. And of course, they know they have these problems. But when you ask them, you know, hey, so what can I help you with today? They’re not going to tell you, because maybe it’s too personal. Maybe it’s too embarrassing. And I want to get back to that in a second. The third category I refer to as the Unknown Unspoken. So, these are problems that you know they have, because this is what you do, you’re the expert, but they may not know they have these problems, and they have not yet crystallized them. So imagine that… the example I give, when we talk about the unknown, is let’s say I go to the gym, and I’m a man, I’m a middle aged man, and I go to the gym, because you know, deep down inside, I feel that my wife – we’ve been married for many years – I feel that my wife doesn’t find me desirable anymore. This is a fictitious story. I’m just making this up for you all. [JOE]:
That wouldn’t be true with you or for me. [DAVID]:
Certainly not. Oh, my gosh. But that’s why I’m there, right? So now I go to the trainer, and the trainer says, hey, David, thanks for coming to the gym today and you’re interested in personal training classes. Why are you here? What can I help you with? So, the question is, am I going to tell him or her about my wife and the fact they don’t find me desirable, like, right off the bat? Probably not, until there’s a certain level of trust. Now, the good thing is, is that as clinicians, we are in a spot where our clients typically trust us, in contrast to like, for example, a client seller relationship or, you know, a seller asks a question, we don’t necessarily feel the same degree of forthcomingness about our details. But if you’re looking to differentiate, so this is kind of what I want the listeners to think about here, is think about for your clients, what are some of the unspoken things, or even some of the unknown things that they come into you with? You’ve been doing this for a long time, you know where the skeletons are in the closet and so on. So, if you want to help make your customers feel more comfortable, your clients feel more comfortable talking to you, sometimes bringing out some of these unspoken things can be the trick. So, like, imagine going to the gym and the trainer looks at me and says, you know, hey, David, I’m curious what brings you in here today? The reason I ask is because typically when I see middle aged guys like you, you know, oftentimes they’re trying to run a marathon or do an Iron Man or something kind of stupid midlife. Or maybe they’re trying to get in shape for their significant other or maybe their doctor said, hey, you know what, David, you got to get on the treadmill or one of these days, you’re gonna have a heart attack. I’m just kind of curious, like, which one of those things would you be? And again, the thrust here is that you are priming your clients for the kinds of problems you can help them solve. So even if it’s not clear in their head, they know that this is not taboo. This is like a normal thing that you can help them with, and you’re uniquely positioned to help them so you’re providing that clarity. [JOE]:
And so, I mean, would someone on their website maybe have something like that? Say they’re a marriage therapist, and they say, most of my couples that I work with fall into one of these three categories, are feeling this way. Is that going to be more effective than, you know, I help couples to fall in love again? [DAVID]:
Absolutely. Yeah. The more specific, and I would say, the more unique and differentiated you can be, the better. And it doesn’t really matter what you do, it matters the problem that you can solve; the enemy, the dragon you can help slay. So, for example, in my practice, what I do is I help train salespeople, but not just any salespeople. I train salespeople who understand that people like to buy things, but they hate talking to salespeople. And, in fact if you go to my website, what does it say? Right on the front page, it says, do you ever wonder why you don’t like talking to salespeople? Now, why would someone whose audience is salespeople say that? This comes back to the whole ethos of sell the way you buy. So, if you are a seller, and you realize that when you’re on the buying side of a transaction, you actually don’t like talking to salespeople. Now, all of a sudden, you’re really interested in what I have to say. On the homepage of my website there’s no content, it doesn’t say what my approach is and these kinds of things, but it makes you lean in. So as a clinician if you can kind of lead with some of these enemies, right? You lead with the problem, the enemy that your customers, your clients are looking to solve for, then they’ll lean in and say, well, this is interesting. Tell me more. So, having it on your website is a great idea. [JOE]:
So, what would an enemy be for a therapist who helps couples? We’ll start there. Just like a practical example – what comes to mind for you for the enemy in that situation? [DAVID]:
Yeah, well, so, digging deeper but, full disclosure, I’m not a therapist in that sense. But thinking about like, when couples are having some turbulence and some turmoil, what’s actually happening? Is it just they’re just trying to find love? Or for example, let’s say – I’m gonna just go out on a limb here – let’s say that deep down inside when couples are having marital issues, they fear that at the end of the road is divorce. Right? And maybe… and I’m just throwing this out there, I don’t know if this is a practical… but maybe you have on your website, like, I help couples who are afraid that they’re heading towards divorce. I help couples heading towards divorce. Now, I don’t know if that’s a practical thing that you could do, but if that’s your particular expertise, then when I come to your website, if I just need like a little tune up in my marriage, then maybe you’re not for me, right? But deep down inside, if I’m fearful that I’m going to get divorced, and that’s not something I talk about to my friends, or I articulate to people who just ask me, I’m gonna lean in and be like, oh my gosh, this person must be uniquely positioned to help me. So those are the kinds of things. Is that a thing that exists? [JOE]:
No, I mean, I think that, to say that, I think if I were just wanting a tune up, and I saw someone also specialized in people headed for divorce, I would think, I don’t think we’re headed for divorce, but I sure would like to work with someone that knows that world because I definitely don’t want to get divorced. And so, yeah, I say, what are those biggest fears? Or other ones might be did I marry the wrong person? And that might be more for individual therapy, if someone is really thinking, did I marry the wrong person, I need to sort through whether I want to stay in this marriage, and you know, but what’s the disruption for the kids or for myself? Really, I like that idea of going to those deep, deep fears that someone is dealing with because then they resonate with you as a therapist; they fast forward how much they trust you because they say, oh my gosh, that person gets me, and this is just their website. [DAVID]:
For sure. And those things, I think that is what separates… and I’m not saying good versus bad therapists, but I’m saying the therapists who are able to deeply connect with their audience and look, you know, a lot of us don’t like, as we’re practitioners, we don’t like this idea of selling. It feels a little strange or gross to us. But it’s not selling if you’re putting out there what you’re passionate about and how you can help your clients, but you need to be attuned to what that thing is like, what is the unique superpower? What is your unique ability to help? Because if you can get attuned with that, then you’re going to attract a lot of like-minded customers, because they’re going to see the content you’re putting out there and say, yes, this person is uniquely positioned to help me, compared to all of the other clinicians out there who kind of say something that’s very generic. [JOE]:
Now, how would you apply that when you’re doing public speaking, if you’re interviewed with the local paper, when you’re doing other marketing out there? Social media? Do you stick with this all the time or should you have some variety in it? [DAVID]:
Yeah, so, the thing that I always say when it comes to messaging, when we kind of describe, when someone says, what do you do? What do you say? The thing that you’re going to say will depend on a couple things. Number one, who you’re talking to. So, like, who’s the, if I can call it, the buyer in this case? Like, for example, are you talking to men? Are you talking to women? Are you talking to newlyweds? Are you talking to people who’ve been married for a long time? Are you talking with people with young kids? Older kids? Who is this message geared towards? And then the second dimension is what I would call the product. So, for example, and I think a lot of people are realizing this now, especially with everything going on in the world, is that we have to be a little bit diversified in terms of the product that we sell. So, if our initial product is a situation where clients come into our office, and we sit one on one with them, and we have a discussion, well, that could be one product. But you might also have a product that’s virtual, you might also have a product that is some kind of group therapy, you know, or group therapy on specific topics, and so the way you describe what you do and when you’re on, let’s say, a podcast or interview, the way you describe what you do depends on the client you’re trying to connect with, and the product, oftentimes, that you are trying to position to that client. [JOE]:
Yeah, I mean, we have this thing that… I don’t think I made this up, but we talked about the sandwich approach where your core product may be counseling, but what comes before that? And so, if you had people that showed up that were highly prepared for marriage therapy, or highly prepared for anxiety work, or trauma work, what would be something that you wish they would go through before they came in? And that’s a great opportunity for an eCourse, an eBook, some sort of video prep before those sessions or you could even sell it to the general community. But then on the other side of the counseling, what are the things that people need when they’re ready to step down from counseling? It could be some sort of membership community where you do a group check in, or it could be that you have an eCourse to keep your marriage strong, or have a different type of plan where maybe it’s just a half hour check in a month. So, thinking creatively about, how do I meet those needs before and after the core product? I see that the people that do that really build multiple streams of income in their practice beyond just relying continually on just the therapy. [DAVID]:
Absolutely. Like, think about me, if I go out and work with a client and help them with their operation, they’re only spending a few hours with me, or several hours with me. Most of their time is spent not with me, and how do I help them drive accountability in their organization? How do I help them bridge what’s often referred to as the Knowing Doing Gap? It’s great for us to go to therapy and have the clinician tell us, oh, yes, do this, do this, do this. When your wife does this, when your husband does this, say this, and we smile, we nod, we say, great, and then we go home, and then we just forget everything that we learned. And so how do we help our clients bridge that gap? And that is something that transcends the things that we’re actually doing when we’re in front of them. So, there’s lots of opportunity to help clients realize the benefits that they retained us for in the first place. [JOE]:
Yeah. So, we kind of went into some strategies with identifying some of those pains and how people think about it. What are other concepts around selling the way you buy? Like, how do we buy? We probably don’t even notice how we buy. So how do we buy? [DAVID]:
This is the big topic. So, the sell the way you buy, there’s kind of two pieces to it. The first piece is empathy, meaning, as a seller, and oftentimes we may not think of ourselves as sellers, but we are all, whatever you do, we’re all in sales. It’s just, don’t use tactics that wouldn’t work on you. And I think it’s great as a clinician, as a therapist, if you are attuned to how your clients are feeling, then you wouldn’t put them through any untoward or sleazy activities, that kind of stuff. So that’s step one.

But step two, part two, is what you just referred to, which is, well, if selling the way you buy is good and important, well, how do we buy? And one of the biggest concepts that I talk about is this idea of like people buy one thing, first and foremost, which is feelings. Our minds trick ourselves into thinking we make these very logical decisions, but if you think about, for example, if you’re listening here, if I asked you to write down everything that you ordered for lunch or made for lunch in the last month, and then I told you, I’m going to take that list, I’m going to give it to your doctor and I’m going to ask that doctor, what percentage of the time did this person eat and make the best thing for them? I don’t wanna put you on the spot here, Joe. Maybe you’re a specially healthy guy, but what might that number be for you? If I said, what percentage of the time, if I showed your doctor what you ate for lunch, how often would they say, so calorically, food groups, portion control, size, you know, would they say was the best for you?

I mean, lunch I would say like 95%. [DAVID]:
That’s awesome. [JOE]:
If we said after dinner while I’m watching Netflix, that would be like… I’ve been putting the pistachios in front of the Pringles and Cheetos, and I know I shouldn’t even have those things in my house but honestly, like, during lockdown in Coronavirus, I have gone back to childhood foods that bring me happiness. So yeah, I would say 25% of the time after 7pm. [DAVID]:
So, you said it right there, right? You’re making these decisions to eat things not based on nutritional value but based on the way they make you feel. And everyone knows this when, let’s say, at the end of a hard day, or you’re in lockdown, and you say to yourself, you know what, I’ve had a hard day, you know what I deserve? [JOE]:
Cheetos? [DAVID]:
Yeah, people say Cheetos, or like a cheeseburger, or a glass of wine, or beer, like, people don’t say good things. Or say like, it’s… [JOE]:
I deserve some kale chips right now. [DAVID]:
Some steamed broccoli, maybe a yoga class. But like, so these are things that… you make good choices when you’re clear headed and so on. But even those choices that you make, most of the choices that we make, from the clothes that we wear, the vacations we go on, if I said, what was the financial return of your last vacation? And that shirt that you’re wearing, like, what’s the return of that? Why didn’t you get the other shirt? And if you think about something that you spend money on, that another person would look at and say, that’s ridiculous. Why are they spending money on that thing? We all have those things, right? And so, the way we buy is actually based on a series of emotions and cognitive bias. And now I’m feel like I’m preaching to the choir here with cognitive biases, but, you know, there are so many tricks, as you know, that our minds play on us that make us seem that we’re all very logical and forthright, but everything, every decision we make, is based on emotion. And so, what happens is, when we go out there, and we try to, quote unquote, sell, a lot of times we start selling based on functional, technical, tactical benefits. You know, I help people, counsel people in these areas, and it’s a weekly session, and, you know, there’s this follow up, and like, people don’t care about that, like, there’s no emotion there. So that’s the… when you talk about sell the way you buy, it’s how do you connect with people emotionally using some of these… not subversive, but like, these subconscious approaches that people don’t even think about when they’re buying. [JOE]:
Yeah, I love that. I heard a while back, I forgot what book it was in, but they were talking about… maybe it was a podcast. But they were talking about how, say there was an airplane that was going to Hawaii, and it had great turbo jets, great wheels, that if they said, you know, we have the best engines, the best wheels, the most aerodynamic, people wouldn’t care. But if they say, this plane will get you on the beaches of Hawaii 25 minutes faster than the average flight, people resonate with that because it’s the outcome that matters to them. They could care less if the airplane goes faster, saves fuel, if it doesn’t actually go back to them and what they emotionally want. [DAVID]:
Absolutely. And actually, there’s quite a lot wrapped up in what you just said, because if I say, for example, let’s say that the plane that I’m flying to Hawaii goes 10% faster than the other plane. I could either say this plane, this trip, this plane will fly 10% faster than this other plane, I will get you there 10% sooner, or I can say, I will get you on the beach 25 minutes sooner, right? Those two statements might be mathematically equivalent. 10%, 25 minutes. But they resonate very differently in your mind because I can picture what 25 minutes on a beach looks like. 10% of the trip, like, I don’t know what that is, right?

Even the way we use data, and it’s really interesting, the way you’re seeing even… I don’t want to be like all pandemicy, but like, when you see statistics these days – I think we’re learning a lot about statistics – when a statistic is presented and it says, you know, there’s 25,000 people in Italy who are infected with this virus, you’re like, oh my gosh, I can picture 25,000 people. If I told you that 0.001% of the population was infected with this virus, you’d be like, oh, no big deal, right? They could be mathematically equivalent. So how we present data makes a huge difference as well.

Yeah. I love that. How else do we buy? [DAVID]:
Yeah, so there’s the feelings aspect, even things like, for example, when we get objections. So, when someone launches an objection at us; it’s too expensive, I don’t know if it’s gonna work, I don’t think my husband would be into this. The way we buy is very nuanced, and so oftentimes when we have an objection to something, the thing that we say is the objection is actually not really the objection. And I think it’s actually more relevant in this line of work, right? In therapy when someone comes in and says, oh, here’s my problem, we kind of have this inkling that that’s actually not their problem. Rather than jump in, we need to understand that problem. And I think your listeners here would probably understand that more than anyone, but in the context of selling, when we get objections it’s not about just what’s said, it’s understanding the nuance, and diving in, and asking questions, so that we can address the root cause of that objection. And that’s, again, one of the ways that people buy. We always create objections in our mind, but those objections are just the facade at the tip of the iceberg. [JOE]:
Yeah. Even just last week, we launched Podcast Launch School to people on the waitlist and that was our first launch. And I noticed when someone said, I can’t afford this, that really the question behind that was, am I gonna get this money back? Is this gonna be a good return on investment of my time and money? Basically, am I throwing my money away? They could actually afford it, but they were saying I can’t afford it because they really wanted to know, is launching a podcast even worth my time? [DAVID]:
That’s right. Well, look, it’s too expensive is the number one objection that everyone gets, especially in the buying and selling realm. And it can mean so many things. Actually, one of the exercises I go through, is imagine, let’s say we met at a party, and you ask me out on a date, and I say, oh, you know what, I’d love to go with you, Joe, but I’m busy Saturday night. So, the question is, what does ‘I’m busy Saturday night’ mean? How would you find out if I was actually busy Saturday night? What else would you do? [JOE]:
Yeah, I mean, you could say, well, what are you up to Saturday? Or I’m free on Sunday – would you like to do something Sunday? [DAVID]:
That’s right, okay. So now you’re coming back, and I say, Mmm, you know what, Joe, I’m really busy Sunday too. And then you might come back and say, well, why don’t you maybe pick a day that you’re available? And I say, oh, you know what, I’m kind of really tied up. So, you’re basically testing me, right? You’re kind of going through this process and approach to diagnose, relevant to our listeners here, diagnose what the actual issue is. And so, that’s the thing when we think about selling and buying; we all do this, right? It doesn’t mean when we say, oh, it’s too expensive… Sometimes we’re not even in tune with the reasons why we’re throwing that objection in the first place. It’s like, I don’t want to go. So yeah, being able to drill down is really important. There’s so much nuance to how we buy and all of the various biases. Even how we answer questions. I’m sure your listeners are familiar with the process of asking clients questions in the middle of their therapy, and the question is sometimes we ask our clients questions that are contentious or, like, very… they kind of hit a nerve. We may not get the real answer right away. This is part and parcel of how we sell and buy. [JOE]:
Yeah, you know, two statements on the pre consulting calls, whenever I talk to people that want to work with me, or with Whitney, or Allison, or Jeremy, that I’ll start with saying, we have enough people applying to work with us. And really, we want to just make sure that you get in whatever program is going to give you the best return on investment for your time and money. How’s that sound? Sounds great. That’s so refreshing. It’s like, I’m not going to sell people into something they don’t need. And so, to just start with that, when I started adding that, it was great because then it was two people having a conversation about what are your goals? How do we get you there fastest within the budget that you have? Rather than, I’m going to upsell you into something that you don’t need and then a week later, you’re gonna say, I don’t want to do this. Like that’s just… I don’t want that kind of yes. I want to have a yes like, heck yeah, this is gonna change my life. And now it’s worth it. So, it’s like, that’s what I wanted when I signed up for coaching. I wanted someone to just say, here’s how I think I can help you; let me know if it’s a fit. [DAVID]:
Well, yeah, what you just described is kind of like the counterfeit Yes, that sometimes people will give to get us off their back. But you’re absolutely right. The psychological principle that I apply around that is known as reactance. And you’ve experienced reactance, which you might describe as kind of like undue pressure, when let’s say, you’re in the mall, and you’re going through like a clothing store, and you’re thumbing through the merchandise and the salesperson kind of saunters over to you and says, excuse me, sir, is there something I can help you find? What do you say? [JOE]:
No. Because I’m in a clothing store looking at clothes. [DAVID]:
Right. You’re like, oh, like, no. And it could be in a car dealership, it could be anywhere, right? You get like a sales outreach, like someone’s prospecting into you, a telemarketer. And it’s not that… the reason you react that way is because when you feel that your freedom to choose is being restricted, like there’s no way you can kind of wiggle out of this, you immediately become resistant. And so, you know, to your point, when you’re trying to put together an approach, a proposal, together for a client, if they feel like you’re putting undue pressure on them to make a decision, then they’re going to become immediately resistant versus if you say, hey, look, I want to find the right thing for you. And you know, what, if we don’t find the right thing for you, like, ‘no’ is a perfectly acceptable answer; we do not have to move forward. Taking that pressure off – that’s actually the antidote to reactance, is making it okay for the customer to say no, makes it more likely that they’ll say yes, or at least get back to you because they’re going to feel so much more comfortable. [JOE]:
I can’t wait to have our audience read your book. I feel like there’s so much we could dive into. David, if every private practitioner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know? [DAVID]:
Yeah, you know what, for me, it’s just… I’d say like, you’re already attuned. I mean, as a practitioner, you’re already attuned to the mental state of your clients, when I think about selling the way you buy. It’s just really understanding the pathways by which people make decisions. Because if you understand that and you understand all of like the crazy human elements and all the biases that go behind them, then you’ll be able to be in a much better position to help them and more importantly, attract the kind of clients that you can help, because not everyone that sometimes sits in our chair and comes to our office is the type of person that we can help. They’re not hitting the center of the target for us. So by really tuning yourself to the needs of your customers, getting in touch with that unspoken need, and really articulating that in your outward facing approach, you will attract the kind of clients that you’re looking for, that you can help the most. [JOE]:
So awesome. David, if people want to connect with your work, if they want to get your book, what’s the best way for them to connect with you? [DAVID]:
Yeah, so, is my website and there I actually give away everything for free. You don’t have to register for anything. I have tons of articles. I have a YouTube channel that links from there as well. The YouTube channel is called Cerebral Selling; tons of short, two, three-minute videos on a variety of topics. So that is all free, by all means check it out. The book, which you can also find on the website, is called Sell The Way You Buy, and you can find that wherever you buy books. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, there’s an eBook. So yeah, by all means. Look it up. [JOE]:
David, thank you for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast. [DAVID]:
Pleasure, Joe. Thanks for inviting me. [JOE]:
How awesome was that? I hope that that helps you frame things out differently in regards to the way that you buy, compared to the way that you sell. Because I think that idea of thinking through selling sometimes feels icky and it doesn’t need to be. So, start implementing some of this within your practice. Again, is the best electronic health records out there. They have telehealth services now. You can get two months for free of both the EHR and telehealth over at Use promo code JOE to sign up. And if you’re a Next Level Practice subscriber, if you’re one of our members that is just rocking it out in joining our membership community, you get six months for free. And so, if you’re not, you definitely want to sign up for that. We have a cohort that’s opening in August and that’s over at Thanks so much for letting me into your ears and your brain. Have a great day.

Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music; we really like it. This podcast is designed to provide accurate, authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.

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