In the sales world, the line between persuasive and pushy can often blur. However, the Sandler Selling Method, developed by David Sandler in the 1960s, offers a refreshing approach that focuses on building relationships rather than just closing deals. It focuses on acting as a consultant rather than a ‘pushy’ salesperson. This method shifts the paradigm from merely making a sale to genuinely qualifying the lead and solving their problems. It removes pushy selling techniques and puts the customer at the heart of the conversation.
In this blog post, we’ll delve into the seven steps of the Sandler Selling Method and how you can implement them in your sales calls.
Step 1: Build Genuine Rapport
The Importance of Personal Connection
Before you even dial the number or click the “Join Meeting” button, take a few minutes to research your prospect. Look them up on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, or even Instagram. The goal is to find at least one unique point of connection that you can bring up during the call. Instead of resorting to generic ice-breakers like, “How’s the weather?”, you can say something like, “I noticed you’re a fan of hiking, I love the outdoors too!”
The Psychological Advantage
Building rapport not only makes the conversation more enjoyable but also creates a psychological bridge between you and the prospect. People are more likely to do business with those they like and trust.
Step 2: Establish Roles and Credibility
Your Backstory Matters
Begin the conversation by briefly sharing your background, especially as it relates to your business. Explain how your company was formed, why you work there, and what unique services you offer.
The Dual Benefit
This serves two purposes:
- It helps form a bond as the prospect gets to know your story.
- It establishes your credibility, making it more likely that the prospect will trust your solutions.
Step 3: Identify the Pain Points
As the prospect describes their needs or problems, listen attentively. Your goal is to identify how your services can directly address their issues.
Honesty is the Best Policy
If you find that your services don’t align with their needs, be upfront about it. Honesty will earn you respect and could lead to referrals in the future.
Step 4: Discuss Budget Transparently
The Power of Straight Shooting
Don’t beat around the bush. Ask the prospect about their budget directly. This shows that you value their time and yours.
Be prepared to share your pricing range as well. Transparency is a two-way street and sets the stage for a more open and honest relationship.
Step 5: Facilitate the Decision-Making Process
Understand the Dynamics
Ask key questions to understand the decision-making process:
- Who has the final say?
- What additional information can you provide to facilitate the decision?
- When do they plan to make a decision?
Help Them Help You
Your role here is to make it as easy as possible for them to say yes.
Step 6: Propose a Tailored Solution
The Solution-Centric Approach
Now that you understand their problem and budget, present your service as the ideal solution. Make it abundantly clear that you’re proposing something directly addressing their needs.
Trust is Fragile
If the prospect senses that you’re trying to upsell unnecessarily, trust can quickly erode. Always focus on solving the problem at hand.
Step 7: Outline the Next Steps
Before ending the discussion, provide a clear timeline for the next steps. Whether it’s a follow-up call or sending a proposal, be specific.
Accountability and Momentum
Send a follow-up email reiterating the timeline and next steps. This not only proves your accountability but also keeps the momentum going for closing the deal.
These seven steps fit into a larger three-phase approach illustrated in the graphic below.
- Engaging – Build and sustain the relationship
- Qualifying – discover the opportunity
- Closing – present the solution and manage post-sale
Learning to sell can indeed be intimidating, but adhering to a proven framework like the Sandler Selling Method can significantly boost your confidence and effectiveness. By focusing on relationship-building and problem-solving, you’ll not only close more deals but also do so in a way that is both ethical and enjoyable.