Of all the sales methodologies, the Sandler selling system is one of the most popular. Taught in in more than 25 countries, the nearly 50-year-old program is tried and trusted. Its key teachings are unique; unlike most sales systems, Sandler wants its trained sales representatives to put more of the onus on the prospect. Many of its seemingly backwards philosophies are actually what make it successful.
So, Could Sandler Help Your Sales Team?
As markets become increasingly global and more players enter the game, sales reps are under more pressure than ever. Training teams using the same specific methodology, like Sandler, can galvanize sales reps and give them the sales techniques that will make all the difference to the bottom line.
Founder David Sandler developed the system in 1967, driven by his frustration with existing sales techniques. Convinced there must be a better way to sell, Sandler began using what seemed like counterintuitive approaches and a deep understanding of human psychology to close deals. Over time, Sandler’s selling techniques boiled down to 49 rules for success — including the following four sworn-by principles.
Sandler Rule #3: No Mutual Mystification
Sales meetings end too often with a handshake and a prospect’s promise that they’ll send the contract over the weekend. And then the line goes dead.
Sandler flips the tables and makes the salesperson the quizzical one in the room, by having them ask tough questions and clarify murky details on next steps. The salesperson might ask “What might get in the way of you sending this contract over?” Or, “are there any other elements that need to be clarified in order to move forward?” The answers to these questions will mitigate unfulfilled expectations and misunderstandings.
Sandler Rule #31: Close the Sale or Close the File
Not everyone is going to buy your product, for a myriad of a reasons. Regardless of your market fit, there are difficult prospects who are almost always impossible to please.
A Sandler-trained salesperson knows it’s key to identify these scenarios early on. A sales team that knows when a prospect is only wasting time will save itself and the company invaluable effort that can be applied to files that can be closed.
Sandler Rule #34: Work Smart, Not Hard
What’s better — a salesperson that reports to you that they are meeting with hundreds of leads, or a salesperson that doesn’t meet with as many, but continues to satisfy and surpass quotas?
Persistence and hard work is integral to any sales plan, but it’s more important that the plan itself is smart. Sandler instills the idea that working smart needs to be built into every salesperson’s mantra and into organizations as a whole. Are you empowering your sales people to make grounded and efficient sales decisions based on specific, prescribed criteria, or are you pushing your team to bang doors down and burn themselves out, thereby not achieving results?
A sales plan that every salesperson understands and supports makes for a strong team with stronger results. Support this style of work top-down and your team will feel less pressure, while delivering more deals and meeting more sales targets.
Sandler Rule #27: You Can’t Sell Anybody Anything — They Must Discover They Want It
It doesn’t matter how good a sales rep is at selling, or how well a product solves a prospect’s pain point: at the end of the day, a prospect will only buy when they want to buy.
This, as Sandler outlines, is basic human psychology. Everyone wants to feel that the final decision was theirs — especially when signing a cheque. A sales rep’s goal should be to help the prospect see what the rep already knows. Relate stories and pose questions that steer the prospect towards drawing their own conclusions from the data supplied, rather than instructing them on what they need.