Surviving in the cut-throat sales world requires you to be consistently on top of your game. Every prospect/account is different in sales, and applying the proper sales methodology can help you navigate dynamic sales cycles faster and more efficiently. Our previous blog, 9 Sales methodologies: How to win buyers and influence sales, explored various sales processes that help you improve your win rate. This article will dive deep into the workings of the Sandler sales methodology and how it can help you reach those sales milestones.
Before we get down to the nitty-gritty, let’s define this compelling sales technique.
The Sandler selling methodology was developed in 1967 by the founder of Sandler Training, David Sandler. What differentiates it from other sales methods is that it celebrates the consultative sales approach. This technique encourages salespeople to qualify prospects by asking probing questions which helps them validate the opportunity during the early stages of the sales process. Additionally, the buyer feels heard and in control of the buying cycle, which is critical for building sustainable business relationships.
However, if you are in sales, you must have come across multiple sales methodologies that guarantee increased revenue. So, what is so special about this particular technique?
Keep reading to find out.
It is worth noting that many successful sales reps still practice a 50-year methodology in a high-powered environment like sales. Yet, they do have solid reasons for their faith in this method.
Now that we have defined and discussed the importance of this selling technique, it’s time to deconstruct the Sandler sales system.
According to sandler.com, while different sales methodologies train you to get better at playing the sales game, the Sandler method utilizes three key stages that keep you from playing any such game. These three primary stages are-
The Sandler sales methodology stresses on fostering long-term relationships. You can achieve this by-
This stage involves finding the right fit for your product, not the other way around. You decide whether your offering solves your prospect’s requirement and qualifies the buyer by understanding their budget, timeline, and buying authority.
After carefully screening the prospect, you address their concerns via a no-pressure presentation. Once the buyer agrees to the deal, you confirm the agreement and set post-sales service expectations.
The three stages discussed here are further segmented into the seven compartments of the Sandler submarine. But why submarine and not any other battleship?
David Sandler was a World War II movie aficionado, and this sales system was inspired by his fascination for submarines.
The seven compartments of the Sandler submarine represent the seven principles of the Sandler sales methodology.
Human beings have the pre-conceived notion that all salespeople are pushy and self-serving. Hence they instinctively put up their defenses while communicating with a salesperson. This principle suggests that you defy general perceptions and concentrate your efforts on bonding with your prospect. Building rapport helps you switch from transactional selling to a trust-building approach. Here are a few sandler sales tips to support this principle.
Setting clear ground rules is a critical component of the Sandler selling methodology. This alerts both the buyer and seller to know what to expect from the sales process. Adopting this approach will greet your prospect with a welcome surprise, help establish behavioral boundaries and determine the steps to manage set expectations.
Ensure your upfront contracts highlight the following aspects–
This step initiates the qualification stage. Pain is an extreme emotion that motivates people to drastically change their lives. Make it your goal to first determine if your prospect has a concern that you could address and then uncover this underlying pain.
But how do you do that? Follow the questions outlined in the Sandler Pain Funnel, which is a series of open-ended questions designed to uncover your prospect’s requirements. This step may occur over a series of email exchanges or phone calls.
Straightening out budgetary constraints in the early stages is beneficial for buyers and sellers alike. It allows prospects to move along the sales process without feeling obliged to sellers and helps the salesperson to customize a proposal based on the allotted budget.
If you often hesitate to bring up money during your first sales call, the results from this experiment should put your mind at ease.
As indicated in this study, discussing the prospect’s budget within the initial 38 mins of the first sales call increases your chances of closing the deal. But how do you do that? Take a look at the sample questionnaire and customize it based on your requirements.
When following the Sandler sales technique, it is critical to go through this step before moving on to your presentation/proposal.
Now that you have discovered your prospect’s objective, pain points, and budget, it is time to work out the details of their decision-making process. To understand this, you can use questions like the one mentioned below.
It would not be ideal to move further into your Sandler submarine should you be unhappy with the answers to these questions. It becomes much easier for you to draft a suitable proposal that is more likely to be accepted when you are aware of the who, where, when, what, and how of their decision-making process.
This step is all about delivering a tailored solution that drove the buyer to your door and fulfills his needs. If you have ardently followed the previous principles of the Sandler sales program, this is how this stage should appear.
Closing the sale should not end your communication with the buyer. Prepare them for the transition that’s about to occur and ensure a smooth onboarding experience to prevent buyer’s remorse. Standing by their side at this critical juncture will open up future opportunities like referrals or repeat business.
Asking questions similar to the ones mentioned below will make them feel a gratifying sense of time and money well-spent.
This concludes the seven core principles of the Sandler sales methodology. You could also look at the following video for additional help in incorporating this sales technique into your sales strategy.
The Sandler method is just one of the many sales methodologies that help you sell more efficiently. However, it is a time-tested technique to build a deeper connection with your prospects and nurture the buyer-seller relationship based on mutual trust and respect. Using this method sets you apart from the average salesperson as it focuses primarily on prospect qualification than pushing your agenda.
Trying to find the ideal fit for your offering does bring in the additional risk of closing fewer sales. Hence, the Sandler sales methodology is found to be effective mostly in complex B2B sales where it is less about following the law of averages and more about investing time with qualified buyers But, ultimately, if you can win your prospect, winning deals become a much more fulfilling experience.