Buyer-Centric Selling

Episode 36: Buyer-Centric Selling, with David Bonney

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Buyer-centric selling, a podcast episode with David Bonney. Learn from the sales expert how to execute buyer-centric selling.

David Bonney has been focused on sales execution and process for 15 years and is the CEO and founder of — which is a platform he and his team built and designed for sales trainers. He is also the author of the new book entitled “Buyer-Centric Selling.”

David is going to give us a rare look behind the curtain to what is buyer-entric selling — through the eyes of a sales expert. He is also going to give us a foundation around what he refers to as the Revenue Operations Lifecycle.

Additionally, he’s also going to walk us through what he calls the “Sales Playbook” and how to execute the playbook.

And — we’re going to break down The Sales Conversion Formula so you can better measure the sales performance within your shop — whether that’s your own performance — or — if you have multiple people playing different biz dev roles.


What you will learn in this episode about buyer-centric selling:

  • How David and his team built and designed for sales trainers
  • Ways to structure the first conversation with a prospect so they see we are all about them
  • The foundational blocks for David’s new book, “Buyer-Centric Selling
  • Why David focuses on bottom performers to achieve increased performance levels from every team member
  • Key takeaways from “Buyer-Centric Selling
  • The most effective ways to drive up predictable sales rep success



Buyer-Centric Selling: Full Episode Transcript


Buyer-centric selling is explained in this Sell with Authority podcast by Stephen and David!


Welcome to the Sell with Authority podcast. I’m Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI. And my team and I, we created this podcast specifically for you. So if you’re an agency owner, a business coach, or a strategic consultant and you’re looking to grow a thriving, profitable business that can weather the constant change that seems to be our world’s reality, then you’re in the right place.


If you want proven strategies for attracting a steady stream of well-prepared, right-fit prospects into your sales pipeline. Yeah, we’re going to cover that. If you want to learn how to step away from the sea of competitors so you actually stand out and own the ground you’re standing on. Yeah, we’re going to cover that too if you want to future-proof your business so you can navigate the next challenges that you know are going to come your way.


Well, absolutely. We’re here to help you there, too. I promise you that each episode of this podcast will contain valuable insights and tangible examples of best practices. Never theory. From thought leaders, experts, owners who have done exactly what you’re working hard to do. So I want you to think practical and tactical. Never any fluff. Each of our guests has built a position of authority and then monetized that position by claiming the ground, growing their audience, nurturing leads, and, yes, converting sales.


But all the while, they did it by being helpful. So, every time someone from their audience turned around there, they were given a helpful answer to an important question. So their prospect never, ever felt like they were a prospect. I also promise you every strategy we discuss every tool we recommend will be shared in full transparency in each episode so you can plant your flag of authority, so you can claim your ground and fill your sales pipeline with a steady stream of rate fit clients who never, ever, ever were made to feel like one of your prospects.


Get your copy of the book Buyer-Centric Selling by David Bonney today!


Buyer-Centric Selling: David Bonney’s Introduction


Okay, so I am super excited for you to meet our very special guest expert today, David Bonney. In case you’re meeting David for the first time, he’s been focused on sales, execution and process for 15 years and is the CEO and founder of, which is a platform he and his team built and designed for sales trainers.


He’s also the author of the brand new book entitled Buyer-Centric Selling and Holy Bananas. Are we going to have fun talking about that? I was thrilled. Yes, thrilled when David said yes to my invitation to join me on the show because, as owners, it’s going to feel a little bit hard. As owners, the work of quote-unquote sales tends to be an area inside our agencies, coaching practices, and consultancies.


That’s easy to avoid. It’s not that hard to block and tackle sales work. It’s easy to not do it. And guess what? It’s also very easy to avoid because many owners, people just like you and me, don’t like to do it. Or worse yet, they avoid the work any way they can. Now, let me quickly give a disclaimer here.


Join our next open-mic Q&A to learn more about buyer-centric selling


Buyer-Centric Selling: Introduction To the Sales Process


I’m not talking about if a solid gold referral comes knocking and asks you how you can help them accomplish X, Y, and Z, and they have a budget in hand, and it’s clear that there’s a fit in. It’s clear that you can do great work for them, and you can be profitable doing it. I’m not talking about that scenario.


I have zero doubt about that situation. You and your team are going to crush it nearly every single time. And yet for that, instead, what I am talking about are all of the tedious and critically important sales activities that lead up to a meeting with a brand new prospective client for the first time and structuring that first conversation in such a way that they can clearly see you are all about them and not you.


As a result of the questions you ask in the insights and wisdom you share, they never, ever were made to feel like one of your prospects, using David’s words, buyer-centric selling, and then Holy bananas. You have a great conversation, and then, no surprise, they hire you and your team. Amazing. So today’s conversation with David is going to give us this rare look behind the curtain of buyer-centric selling through the eyes of a proven sales expert, David.


He’s going to share with us the foundation of what he refers to as the revenue operations lifecycle. He’s going to walk us through what he likes to call the sales playbook and then the execution of that playbook. And we’re going to spend a ton of time around buyer-centric selling and this methodology that he has. So my guess is that he’s going to share with us some of the common mistakes, some of the mistakes that happen time and time again, so that you can improve your improvement, your process can raise the bar in step into 2023 with a better sales plan than you currently have today.


Okay. So without further ado, welcome to the Sell with Authority podcast. David Thanks, David. Great to be here. Thanks for having me. Thanks for joining me. I wanted to thank you for having me. This is my show. Thanks for joining me. I’m so excited everyone, because in the green room and then all the prep for this conversation, I got more and more excited.


Get your copy of the book Buyer-Centric Selling by David Bonney today!


Buyer-Centric Selling: How David Started His Journey in Sales


And candidly, I said to David a few minutes ago, when we were talking about the buyer-centric selling model in greater detail, I literally got goosebumps. I got so excited. I know that’s probably TMI, which is too much information for everybody, but I got so excited because this conversation, I believe, is going to be extremely helpful. So, with that said, in the way we kind of set that up, actually, let’s take a step back.


Take us behind the curtain and give us more context around your path and journey, and then we’ll dive in. Yeah,So I started off in sales, like most of us do, was a collegiate basketball player, got hurt, didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, couldn’t get another job, and there was a sales role for me and went in there, didn’t like it, didn’t know what I was doing.


My dad was a salesman. I had a bunch of stuff around it, but ultimately, I had to figure it out and I did. And I was at a Fortune 100 company, went to the top of the West Coast Division, and got recruited to become a manager and then got recruited by an up-and-coming software company out in Arizona by the name of Infusionsoft or Cheap.


Join our next open-mic Q&A to learn more about buyer-centric selling


Buyer-Centric Selling: Figuring Out the Revenue Retention Issues


So I started there at around 5 to 10 million and did the ride all the way up to 100 million with a VP of sales and marketing stint at another tech company in between. But essentially what my time there was focused on started off in sales, generating new revenue, building a great team figuring out how to do that, and from there they needed me to help figure out the revenue retention side for sales.


What we found out is not only was my team putting through the most sales, but they were actually retaining the longest and had the highest lifetime customer value. So they said we’re having a revenue retention issue. David, can you go fix that? So I went over there spent time figuring out the revenue retention issues. Where was the disconnect between sales and fulfillment?


And then from there, he ultimately was the senior leader of the client revenue. And what I learned in that journey, in that process was there’s actually things happening in the sales pipeline stages or things not happening, like you said, Steve, And more often that actually decreased the quality of revenue that we put through as a business. We get the sale, but then the sale makes a lot of noise in the process, creates a lot of resource drain, cancels early, asks for refunds, gives us bad reviews, whatever the thing is.


Most of the time, we saw a disconnect between the expectations set and the sales that actually happened. So, as we drove over the years trying to figure that out, I stumbled upon a secret, and it was something that I already knew, which was why my sales team was putting through the highest-value sales.


Get your copy of the book Buyer-Centric Selling by David Bonney today!


Buyer-Centric Selling: Understanding the Revenue Lifecycle


Okay, is that the keys to actually creating great customers were actually the keys to converting the highest percentage of prospects? It was the same thing that was just the beginning of their journey. And if we had handled their journey effectively at the start and already recognize that they actually are a buyer, they’re not a window shopper.


Right? The stat is that I think 57% of the sales pipeline stages are already complete before they ever engage with a salesperson. I don’t know about you, Stephen, but the last time I woke up in the morning and said, Hey, I’ve got a problem, my first step is going to go talk to a salesperson, is going to try to get me to spend money.


How would I go talk to my network? I’m going to get on Google, I’m going to research. I’ve already spent time. I’ve already shown that I actually am a qualified opportunity just because I’m not that raving fan referral that you talked about. Does it mean that I don’t need a solution and I don’t need the help of an outside company to make my life better?


So the key experience here and understanding the entire revenue lifecycle is realizing the key to actually generating high-quality revenue was actually the key to generating high levels of sales conversion. And that’s really where buyer-centric selling was born from. Okay. And that’s where I thought that you were going, as you mentioned, some of those gold nuggets, I was thinking, okay, I bet that those were foundational blocks to be buyer-centric selling.


But before we dive into that piece, let’s go back to a couple of things that you shared with me a few minutes ago when we were in the green room sharing some ideas with one another. You mentioned that the vast majority of prospective clients today are looking for trusted advisors.


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Buyer-Centric Selling: A Definition of Buyer’s Intent


So tell me why you believe that to be true. Yeah. So there’s actually my own experience, but there’s actually stats. I think Gartner said 88% of prospective buyers are looking for a trusted advisor. That’s one of them, and that’s in contradiction. That’s one of the reasons why they say that 68% of people would rather not engage a sales rep at all in the process if they could.


And then what we have found, and we’ve done thousands and thousands of poll reviews over the years, Steve, and I’m, you know, I mean, you’re just entrenched in this stuff more than any CEO is ever going to be when you’re in our position. And the thing that we have found time and time again is the main resistance or misalignment that comes is we as companies, treat all of our prospects like that referral.


Like you talked about, they’re here. They just want me to get on and talk about my stuff. And then in the back of my mind with revenue pressure, I’m really just using them as an opportunity to try to get a sale. That’s a sales opportunity. Well, no, they’re not an opportunity to get a sale. That’s not what they want to be.


They engaged in the sales process because of something that we call buyer’s intent. Yep. I’ve been researching and I’m looking for a solution to solve problems that are causing pain and keeping me from outcomes. That is your buyer’s intent. These are actually highly qualified opportunities and for all the marketing agencies that are listening to this, not only are these your leads, but these are the legion you’re creating for clients where their salespeople are telling you you’re not creating good enough leads.


Get your copy of the book Buyer-Centric Selling by David Bonney today!


Buyer-Centric Selling: Understand Your Prospect’s Problem to See If They Need Help


This is actually the problem: we misidentify who these people are because we’re more focused on our stuff and pitching it and their reaction to it. They’re really focused on the buyer and the experience that they’re going through to actually solve their problems. So if we can just understand that that’s our attention, then what we understand is, okay, that’s how we need to start to organize our conversation.


We need to be able to understand the pain that they’re going through and recognize if this is a priority or not. We need to understand the problems that they’re dealing with and whether or not they can solve it without anybody’s help. But unless they need to take action with an outside solution, then it’s just a question of whether or not we’re the right solution for them.


This is so great, David, and for a number of reasons. One of the things that I want to push on a little bit more is when you said revenue pressure, I really think that that’s magic. And here’s why. At least if I’m if I’m tracking with you as to why you said it so I guess be a litmus test here.


My assumption is you said it because when we step into a sales call or a meeting with a prospective client for the first time, whatever you want to call that call, transitional moment, whatever, like what we call it, you’re predictive. And we’re thinking, gosh, I need that next new client because we’ve got to make the quarterly whatever, or we’re off our AGI target.


So I need X amount of when we step into that thinking about us. And with that revenue pressure that changes our intent or changes our behavior or changes how we structure that conversation consciously or subconsciously, am I tracking with you? Absolutely. When you just said it, when the intention is for us to hit our revenue goals, the intention is on us as the company and not on them.


Then we end up doing things to try to hit our goals instead of helping them hit their goals. And the issue with that is we’re actually on the same page. Yeah, my prospects want to solve the biggest problems, causing them the most pain that is keeping them from their outcomes. And guess what I want to do, Stephen? I want to help people in my market solve their biggest problems, causing them the most pain and keeping them from their greatest outcomes.


Join our next open-mic Q&A to learn more about buyer-centric selling


Buyer-Centric Selling: Work On Any Misalignment with Your Prospects


We’re actually on the same page. There’s no resistance here. The resistance comes when I try to sell you my stuff and get you to spend money, but you don’t necessarily know if you want to buy my stuff and give me money. That’s where the misalignment comes. If we can just change that conversation or change our focus, we can get aligned.


But I call it the new source of revenue, the new sort of revenue that hangs around our net constantly. It makes it very difficult for us to take this leap of faith and say, if I just provide the value that my prospects are looking for, when they took time to schedule a sales meeting, they would convert more.


That’s too much of a leap. One of my old clients, Stephen, actually said, We do a lot of prospect surveys as a point of feedback and recognition on whether or not we’re actually providing the right experience that’s driving conversion for them. And it was kind of early on in the process. We had it out to about, you know, maybe close to a dozen of our clients and now we’ve got a new client on.


And I was just like, this is obvious. So what we’re going to do is implement the survey and get this feedback. And the CEO sat there and said, “David, why do I care if our prospects are satisfied with our sales pipeline stages? What do you mean? What in the world?” 


Well, I actually realized that’s what everybody thinks. They don’t care if they’re satisfied. They just want it. They just care if they’re going to give them their money. Yeah, but we’re missing that disconnect. It’s because they’re not satisfied with our sales experience that they’re not giving us our money because we’re not taking them through the process that they need to to get clear on the next step that they need to take in their journey to reach their desired outcomes.


Get your copy of the book Buyer-Centric Selling by David Bonney today!


Buyer-Centric Selling: Establish Yourself as The Trusted Advisor


This is absolute magic. And I love how much emphasis you’re putting on the trusted advisor like like in owning that position with your prospective client because you’ve shown them that you’re all about them and not you, that you’re not allowing the new source of revenue to be stretched around your neck or whatever the right way would be to see that you’re not stepping into that conversation with revenue pressure.


You are there to be helpful. You are there to be the trusted advisor. So see if you would agree or disagree with us. Yeah, when there’s friction in that meeting, sometimes subtly, sometimes not so subtly. When there’s friction in that conversation, I would argue that it’s because the person trying to do the selling hasn’t actually achieved trusted advisor status.


Yeah. Would you agree? Yeah. And what we actually teach is it’s actually twofold. The one thing that we need to be aware of is our prospects, past experiences with salespeople that will paint their initial attitude towards us and it doesn’t really do with us. It just has everything to do with all the salespeople before them, right? So that’s when it starts off that way.


Don’t take it personally. Yeah, but if it continues on through the conversation, you’re exactly right. You have not established yourself with the level of influence necessary for them to see you as the trusted advisor and the guide that is going to take them from where they’re at today to ultimately where they want to be. You have continued to establish yourself as somebody who wants to sell their stuff to this person who simply just wants to solve their problems.


But you’re now not that trusted advisor because you’re more focused on the outcomes that you want to generate as a company, as a salesperson, and as a sales team. Then helping them effectively achieve their outcomes. Really, really good. Okay, before we step into buyer-centric selling and really break down some of the kind of big pieces of that and dive into your new book and some of the key takeaways.


And I love how you said this to me when, when you and I were doing some prep for this, you said that our typical kind of sales process is confusing. The heck out of the prospective clients. So we’re going to come back to that in a minute. But before we do, take us through one of these ahas that you shared with me, you said Stephen’s sales failure is actually made up of a bunch of small failures.


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Buyer-Centric Selling: Effective Team Performance


So tell us a little bit more about your thoughts around that in and again, why you believe that to be true. Yeah. So a little bit of context in terms of in terms of our agency, what we found, and this is really what I learned at Infusionsoft, when you’ve got, you know, when you have investment firms like Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs, I mean, they were putting unbelievable pressure on the upfront sales performance and the other performance of the company.


And you’ve got to figure things out. And, what my secret sauce was ultimately, Stephen, and why I believe I was so successful there is I focused on getting the bottom third of my team to perform. Okay, That was the secret. Okay. Because if you can get your bottom performers to start performing, then what that does is nobody wants to be last.


So that immediately increases the performance of your middle guys. Okay? When you’re middle, when you’re when your mid-level performers start performing, it starts inspiring your top-level performers who get complacent, and then they start driving things as well. So this whole thing around a certain percentage of your team should never hit quota. I think it’s a bunch of crap.


Hey, it’s a terrible strategy for teams that don’t know what it takes to get everybody on their team performing so how do we do that then? When we’re focused with our clients, we’re trying to ensure we’re getting every single one of their team members up. They have to be a good fit, right? Some people just aren’t meant for the world of sales they found themselves.


They’re almost like I was years ago. But how do we get them there? Well, the thing that we’ve diagnosed is the biggest factor that we’ve been able to change to actually drive up predictable sales rep success. At the largest level, failure comes from missing key pieces of information in the sales process. Okay. And what we mean by that is we teach and this might be a little different, but we teach if somebody is going to hop on a call, we want to understand why are they scheduling time with us?


Because they have a problem. They’re trying to solve our goal. They’re trying to achieve, hey, man, don’t interrupt their continuity and say, well, tell me about your business, Stephen. That is going to confuse our prospects or incompetent. That’s why they’re in pain. They don’t understand what’s going on. They just know they have a problem that’s causing them pain and trying to figure out how to solve it.


They’re trying to meet with us to do that. So that’s one question. The next thing is who the decision makers are. If you don’t get the decision-makers, you are going to have this deal fallout either halfway through or the 23rd hour. It just does it. That’s just a fact. You have to get into pain. If you don’t get pain, if you don’t get clarity on that, they’re not going to be clear on it.


And the number of salespeople that think their prospects are clear, the pain, I mean, it’s just unbelievable. You’re wrong. They’re not. We’re all trying to avoid the pain that we’re experiencing. First world problem. Stephen, It’s a good problem to have. Stephen: But no, we as salespeople need to get that in front of them and allow them to say, This is my pain.


Get your copy of the book Buyer-Centric Selling by David Bonney today!


Buyer-Centric Selling: Communicate In a Way That Your Prospect Understands It


What level of priority and urgency do I need to put behind this? We’re missing key information on the problems that need to be solved. We’re not covering that for them. They don’t know the problems to be solved. We are the trusted advisor. We’re the experts. It’s our job to diagnose it. And, you know, there’s information out there about why there’s information around their own internal resources. As soon as they know the problem to be solved, do they have the internal resources to solve it?


If you’re missing any of that information, your sale is going to stall out most likely, and you’re not going to know why. And what we found is when we can get salespeople consistently collecting all of that information and then consistently communicating it back to the prospect in a way that they can clearly understand it, the problem resolves itself, and prospects start converting well, because you’re showing them that you care and you’re showing them that you paid attention, you’re end, you’re showing them that it is actually about them and not you trying to convert something.


Right, Like early on in my career. So let’s call this: I’ve been in the agency business for almost 30 years. So let’s say about 20 years ago when I was running a business for an agency, it was staggering to me, working alongside several colleagues on, you know, the busy dev team that the president of the agency and I had essentially developed this process of do some research, try to figure out their business issues and challenges, then meet with them.


One of the first things in the meeting with the prospective client was to share this kind of slide, if you will, of business issues and then say, this is what we believe to be true. You tell us, do we get it? Do we not validate? Contradict? That was terrifying for other members of the Bestaev team. Why? Because they didn’t want to step into a call or an in-person session and be wrong.


Right. The president of the agency and I looked at that and said, But if we’re wrong, they’re going to tell us that we’re wrong, and then they’re going to show us how to be right. Right. And that’s going to build rapport and holy bananas. It was so simple and yet magic because then prospective clients said, No, no, no, no, you’ve got that wrong.


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Buyer-Centric Selling: Help Them Achieve the Desired Outcome by Offering a Solution


This is what we’re struggling with. You’re like, Wow, thanks for the blueprint. And now we can focus on how we can actually be helpful around the actual business issues and challenges. And then it never, ever, ever felt like selling, Right? Right. Absolutely. Because you’re not selling anything. You’re solving a problem. You solve the problem effectively and you help.


And they’re confident that they can get to their outcomes. They’re more than willing to buy. That is the difference between being a seller-centric sales organization versus the buyer-centric selling. We don’t want to sell them anything. We want to help them buy our stuff. That is the key. That is the key difference. And it might sound like nuance, but you just told the perfect story of how we don’t need to sell anything.


We just need to help them get to the outcome of buying our solution. They’ll be more than happy to if that’s the right thing. The funny thing that we’ve actually figured out is when you talked about the problems of sales talk a lot about this great book, right? They talk about problem reframing, and they don’t talk a lot about how to actually figure out the problem reframing.


So right. So in terms of diagnosis and diagnosing what the problem is, which is what you guys were doing early pre-diagnosis before going in, it allowed us to get more of their perspective. What we figured out is the vast majority of companies out there they’re not solving 100 different problems for companies. We all saw it. We all generally solve about 5 to 9 big core problems for our market.


And if we can define that as a company, which it’s clear because that’s why we built our solution if we can define that, then we can arm our salespeople with magical information that allows even a new rep to communicate to a prospect. I get you. I know what’s going on with you. And that trusted advisor status can then be achieved without that.


Get your copy of the book Buyer-Centric Selling by David Bonney today!


Buyer-Centric Selling: Mapping Out the Content Blueprint for Your Prospect


If they don’t feel like I don’t feel like you know what I’m going through, then I’m never going to consider you to be my trusted advisor. But they don’t. I’m not saying it’s easy, but there’s a simpler process to establish ourselves in our company as the trusted advisor and then allowing our salespeople to facilitate that process for our company.


Well, but okay, so let’s say it’s five tonight, right? Yeah. Okay. And so what we’re doing is narrowing down where we can be helpful and architecting the conversation that our team is going to be having with all of our clients or prospective clients. So we’re singing from the same hymnal. It also gives us an opportunity to really focus our expertise on 5 to 9 things, whatever the number is.


And then if we’re going to follow, you know, what we like to teach here, the sell with authority methodology, we just actually mapped out the content blueprint, the things we’re going to be teaching on for the next 12 months, 18 months, 24 months, whatever. And so those 5 to 9 things can drive all your content, can drive all your conversations, all your presentation decks, orchestrate the entire thing, right?


That’s exactly it. And you just set a critical key. And I want to make sure we don’t slide past that. One of the areas that creates a ton of confusion in the buying process and purchasing process is establishing what the problem is and what the problems are to be solved, and then connecting our solution, product or service to those problems.


Yep. When we are going into every sales conversation with some customized, completely random, and completely different problem that our prospects need to solve, it is so difficult for us to create consistency in what we’re presenting as far as our solution goes, and then clearly connect the dots to that. But that is the bit we don’t want them to burn a ton of calories understanding I’ve got to solve these problems.


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Buyer-Centric Selling: Follow The Playbook to Make the Entire Process Natural


I need outside help to solve these problems. Can you help me solve these problems? Reduce the caloric burn, reduce the effort that it takes, and allow them to connect the dots a lot easier. The key way to do that is to understand at a core level what problems your company solves and then ensure your solution presentation aligns with that.


And most of the time what we do is we figure out, okay, how do we effectively present your solution first? And then from there, we can work backward into what those problems are, and what set of problems we want to diagnose, but we end up teeing up the continuity earlier on in the conversation. So our sales presentation is a homerun run.


Brilliant. Love it. So I know we’re I wanted to loop back to buyer-centric selling this amazing book that you just wrote. I think we probably pulled a couple of the nuggets or at least a few of the nuggets out, but I know we’re quickly running out of time. So, share with us a few additional big takeaways regarding your book, and we will be sure everyone includes a link to David’s brilliant book in the show notes for this episode.


But give us a couple of the other nuggets that stand out. Yeah, So some of the big things that we pointed out in the book to be able to solve the problems that we’re seeing that are rampant in sales is, first, how do we ensure that our salespeople are executing a consistent process or playbook?


It doesn’t have to be a script, but it also doesn’t need to be a wide-open, random conversation that’s different every single time. Both of those are extremely confusing to our prospects. So that’s where we talked about playbooks. And playbooks can be very natural because when I come out and I ask you what problem you are trying to solve or what more are you trying to achieve that causes you to hop on this call?


You tell me, Dave. I’m trying to figure out whether we’re having a problem with revenue performance or sales rep performance. We can’t get the bottom half of our team form and we’re just churning through them. Yep. Okay, great. I asked a couple of probing questions, but the next logical question is, okay, great. Stephen, who’s responsible for solving that problem in your company?


Who has the authority to make the decision? How do you guys typically make these kinds of purchases? Those are two sequential questions in a playbook that made complete and total sense to the prospect, and it gives them clarity that this makes sense. I’m putting these pieces together. I see you as a trusted advisor. So your ability to be able to create these playbooks is huge, to create that consistent execution.


Get your copy of the book Buyer-Centric Selling by David Bonney today!

Buyer-Centric Selling: Using The Guided Selling Technology


Now, additionally, what happens when you have a salesperson who runs the same playbook 100 times versus a sales rep who does 100 different versions of a sales conversation one time, right? You create deep expertise. It’s just like in sports. As soon as the team can wrap their minds around the playbook, they just get better and better.


That’s one of the advantages of having the playbook. Now, the key thing that we’ve seen and the key emerging piece of innovation in the space is what we call guided selling technology. So guided selling technology and the buyer-centric selling process is actually critical because what we need to do is we need to ensure that we’re guiding our salespeople through that playbook to make sure they ask the right questions every single time, to make sure that they’re collecting the right bits of information every single time, as we talked about before.


If they don’t, there’s going to be a gap in the buying process that is going to get disrupted. Yep. Selling technology, then is key in guiding our prospects to make the best decision possible for themselves. And the way that we do that is by ensuring that we’re taking the information from the buyer-centric selling and displaying it clearly to our prospects and what we call a prospect workspace so that they can share links with all of the decision-makers in the company.


And everybody can be on the same page with the needed information that clearly aligns to do. They need to take action? Do they need outside help to take that action? And are we the right company to take that action with? And then the third part of guiding guided selling technology that’s critical in the buyer-centric selling process is the gap between sales leaders and sales reps.


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Buyer-Centric Selling: Explaining The Key Areas to Your Salespeople


The sales leader is not aware of the things that sales reps are messing up on when they’re trying to create great experiences for their prospects. They can’t sit and listen to call review after call review to figure it out. They just basically tell them, Hey Stephen, you gotta figure it out. You got to learn to close. That’s usually the thing.


You’re right. You got to pull out some ambiguous thing. Well, how do we close that gap? Well, guided selling technology gives us data from the sales process that guides the leader to understand the key areas of breakdown for their salespeople. So, for example, when we’re trying to figure out the level of pain and urgency that a prospect is experiencing, we collect that data.


On a scale of 1 to 10. Well, if I have three salespeople, I can guarantee you my best rep is going to have a higher percentage of their prospects say that this is a high priority, and my low-performing rep will have a lower percentage saying that this is a high priority because they’re not hacking in, they’re not getting to the pain, they’re not probing, they’re uncomfortable in that area.


Well, this is now quantifiable data that the sales leader can look at and say, hey, Jim, Stephen is getting 82% of his prospects say this is a high priority, but you’re only at 61%. Stephen is the best on the team for a reason. We need to figure this out. This is where you need to improve pain awareness, driving priority, and driving high levels of urgency in prospects who have already communicated with their actions that they’re trying to solve a problem.


They’re not bad leads. How do we do that? Guided selling technology is really the tech piece, the innovation that’s allowed us to execute buyer-centric selling consistently and create a better buyer experience. This enables the leader to find the areas of correction and improvement that our reps need to make to improve and enhance the buyer-centric selling experience.


Yeah, what I love about this playbook and how you’re framing this up is that if an agency owner and owner of a coaching practice, the owner of a consultancy are listening to you right now and thinking, okay, well, maybe, maybe I run business for the entire shop, maybe I do the entire process. Okay, you need a playbook for that because you’re doing multiple roles, whether that’s all one person or three different people, right?


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Buyer-Centric Selling: Optimizing Your Sales Process to The Highest Quality


You need a playbook for that so that there aren’t the gaps that David just mentioned or let’s say that you have a team of account executives or account supervisors. However, the agency is structured and they’re working with existing clients. They need a playbook for that in how they’re going to help upsell, be helpful, and upsell existing clients higher AGI because you help them accomplish more goals.


Yeah, for that, you never let them run out of the future. So you work on retention like David talked about before, but they need a playbook for that. And then on the business side, new business, right? There should be a playbook for prospective clients, right? So there aren’t the gaps that David is talking about in that everybody is following that same process over and over and over again.


So we’re not aimlessly wandering through the wilderness. And then occasionally, yes. What is the metaphor or adage? The blind squirrel occasionally finds a knot or some ding thing, right? But listless, let’s improve our probability of, excuse me, success by having a structured playbook. Right. Well, it’s that, and you said you’re absolutely correct about that. Now, the key insight, though, that most companies don’t ever get to is the power of optimization or the opportunity for optimization because as soon as you implement a process and that playbook is being executed consistently, then you can identify the areas where it’s potentially falling down.


We need to reword how we’re asking this question. We need to ask this question at a different point. We need to add this question at this point. So as you’re a sales organization or sales team, it doesn’t matter. You can be a $1,000,000,000 company or a $10 billion company over the course of 12 months. You can optimize your sales process to be the quality of a $100 million company’s sales process.


And that’s the key. The optimization gets left out when the conversation is complete. Now this is where we talk a ton about uncap sales conversion and you know, the marketing agencies that we work with, they really love this because they have the opportunity to analyze data. They look at heat maps, click-through rates, and all these things that allow them to say what we are doing in our marketing process and our marketing journey and where it is breaking down.


Right? The guided selling technology allows us to say we’re going to execute this consistently. And then, based on all the data that it’s bringing back to us, we’re going to identify the bottlenecks, and we’re going to be able to continually make improvements. Now, are the improvements going to be in general, or are they okay? Stephen, based on the data, what we’re seeing is, you know, we’ve been running a new webinar campaign on Facebook, doing Facebook lives or LinkedIn lives, and the leads that are coming through that aren’t necessarily converting what’s happening there.


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Buyer-Centric Selling: Deliver The Experience and There Will Be Conversions in No Time


Well, this is happening. We think this is happening. Okay, let’s try to optimize the process to keep converting the ones that we’re already converting. But now, how do we optimize it to help these guys and start converting more pieces of our prospect or prospect segments? That’s where we have an opportunity in sales to really be really ushering in what we see as a new era where sales are really already becoming far more of a process and data-driven science than an artistic expression.


Artistic expression doesn’t give us any benefits. The process and data-driven science allow us to optimize our process, deliver the experience that our buyers want, and optimize that experience to no end so that there should be no cap on our ability to convert any leads or crush this conversation. David I mean, this is just so awesome.


I can also tell that we’re just scratching the surface, so I am very much looking forward to you coming back for an encore at some point when it works for your schedule. This has really just been absolutely amazing. One of the things that before we have to come in for a landing, you know, one of the things that I feel you for me, I should have really pushed on this one or this piece, this golden nugget, a little bit harder because I think you said it so perfectly when you said that this is going to help the agency owners, coaches, consultants who are listening.


Right. That they can improve their business inside their shop. Yay for that. And then you said this is going to help them when they’re in front of their clients and help their clients be better with their clients. I’m like, That’s magic. I mean, that’s brilliant right there, right? This entire buyer-centric selling that David just gave to you is not only great for your own business and being a trusted advisor with a prospective client, but then also taking golden nuggets, these pearls of wisdom that he just shared with you, and that’s going to arm you in front of your own clients to help them be better in front of their clients.


Really smart. David. Yeah, absolutely. And it really just comes from if we’re going to ask why they joined us, that’s continuity and marketing, right? When we’re going through them, we’re looking at the problems that were established; we’re looking at data. I mean, if marketers just understand this, this is the experience that they hope that their clients are executing to make their leads look more qualified and make their company look like the rock stars that they are; it’s completely aligned to that marketing and sales experience, building that bridge between the two and creating the continuity there.


So it’s just a natural fit, and it’s a great value add for a marketing company because, ultimately, they don’t just want more leads. They want more revenue. And the more revenue you help them generate, the more revenue that they’ll give you going back. So it’s a very reciprocal relationship and a, you know, a great opportunity for any agency.


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Buyer-Centric Selling: How To Get in Touch with David


They may do that before we go, close out, and say goodbye. What’s the best way for our audience to reach out and connect with you, David? Yeah, so you can find me on LinkedIn. You can also go to where you can download the Buyers Action Plan, which is basically a breakdown of a lot of the pieces that we talked about here.


Or you can schedule a call audit where we’ll actually go through, and we’ll audit a couple of your best-performing salesperson and your worst-performing salesperson and show you the gap that needs to be improved and then allow you to answer the question, Do you want our help to solve it, or do you feel like you can go solve it on your own?


Either way, you’ll get value out of that. Either way, it is on LinkedIn or at Amazing. Okay, everyone, no matter how many notes you took or how often you go back and relisten to David’s words of wisdom, which I sure hope that you do. The key is you have to take it and apply it, and when you do, you will accelerate your results.


And David, thanks again for saying yes. Thank you for coming on to the show and being so kind and in sharing your smarts, your insights, and wisdom along the way, being our mentor to help us move our businesses onward to the next level. Thank you so much, my friend. Yeah. Thank you, Steve. It’s great being here.


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The Sell with Authority Podcast is for agency owners, business coaches, and strategic consultants who are looking to grow a thriving, profitable business that can weather the constant change that seems to be our world’s reality.

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