It’s not for everyone. It comes with its own ifs and buts. And it could result in fewer deals closing — on the face of it. Still want to learn about the Sandler sales methodology? Let’s jump in.
To begin with, if you love systems and processes and enjoy a solid methodology, the Sandler sales methodology is perfect for you. It has been popular among sales representatives for more than half a century, and for a good reason.
The Sandler sales methodology focuses on qualification rather than closing, and it is a crucial methodology to consider as a sales representative. It helps sales reps achieve their sales targets more efficiently — and if that’s not a blessing, I don’t know what is!
Studies have shown that 88% of salespeople with Sandler sales method training said their sales strategy improved.
Read on to know the ABCs of this interesting sales method, why it is important, its steps, and how you can implement it on your team to improve your sales results dramatically.
Who else feels the makeover vibes?
What is the Sandler sales methodology?
Designed by David Sandler, the founder of Sandler Training, the Sandler sales method is a highly effective sales strategy that brings customers and products closer to each other.
While ordinary sales strategies prefer selling products to more customers, the Sandler sales methodology matches customers with products before selling them.
This method moves around the word ‘qualification,’ as the sales representative acts as a consultant promoting the virtues of products rather than selling like a traditional salesperson. And we all hate those now, don’t we. :)
This sales method intends to create a relationship of mutual trust between the customer and the sales professional to boost overall customer attraction and revenue. It is important because it helps businesses meet their sales goals by providing specific sales support to their customers. This thoughtful sales method will help you pick the right target audience and significantly drop the churn rate by giving you a strong base of loyal customers.
Steps of the Sandler sales methodology
If you want to try this effective sales method for yourself or your company, you must understand the process thoroughly to proceed further.
Although the Sandler sales method has three stages, it is broken down into seven steps to make it easy to understand and implement. The three stages are:
- Establishing a relationship with the prospect
- Qualifying the prospect
- Closing the sales deal
Here are the seven steps of the Sandler sales method in detail:
Bonding and rapport-building
This stage involves developing a connection with your prospective customers. This usually means asking several questions to identify and clarify their wants and needs. It precedes the sales portion of the dialogue and exclusively focuses on establishing a bond of mutual trust. This bond is of great help to lead the prospect to buy the product or service in the future.
Setting the ground / contract
In this stage, the salesperson identifies the process for future communication with the prospect. After a healthy discussion, the salesperson will usually provide an overview of how and when the prospect and salesperson will communicate again and what topics and information those conversations will include. This step comes under the “Establishing a relationship” stage.
Qualifying the prospect by identifying their pain points
Prospect qualification refers to the process of explaining how the sales process will function. The sales rep will need to analyze the prospect’s pain points and position the products or services such that they feel their value. However, it might be challenging to coach sales reps on this.
Talking about money
In this stage, the sales rep takes up an essential topic — budget. Generally, any discussion about budget comes at the end of the sales process. But, in the Sandler sales methodology, budget determines how much time should be invested in the prospect. If the client is unwilling or incapable of purchasing your products or services, the sales rep should ideally turn their attention to something more productive. However, the sales rep needs to evaluate the prospect’s willingness before making a conclusion.
Making the final decision
This is a crucial stage where the prospect decides about making a purchase. The sales rep needs to clarify the hows and whats of the prospect qualification to ensure the sale.
Fulfilling your promise
Now that the sales rep and the prospect are on the same track, the sales rep can pitch their service as the ultimate solution for the prospect's pain point(s). The sales rep needs to ensure that the proposal matches the cost and decision-making.
(After) Sealing the deal
This is the last step of the Sandler sales methodology, where the salesperson ensures that the sale is confirmed without the buyer regretting their decision. This is also an excellent opportunity to cross-sell other products that the prospect might find useful.
How to understand if the Sandler sales methodology is suitable for your sales process
A successful sales process depends on a strong methodology. Companies that identify the right sales method for their team benefit from higher sales, scalable growth, as well as greater efficiency. But how can you identify which sales method is suitable for your solution?
If you plan to implement the Sandler sales method for your team, you need to consider its efficacy first.
The strength of this wonderful selling method is that it excels at building a strong relationship between the prospect and the salesperson. If implemented correctly, the prospect will feel as if the deal was their idea in the first place. Mind games, anyone?
This makes the Sandler sales method ideal for a variety of selling environments as it is a foundational methodology.
How to implement the Sandler sales method for your sales team
Implementing a new training system for your team might be challenging, but you may use specific, time-tested strategies to make the whole process easier.
The sales process of any company is different. So before you bring in any new sales method, you need to figure out what works best for your team’s working style. Think long-term vs new, shiny toy. To teach the system properly, you must take time to master it first. If the leader’s concept is unclear, the whole training process will be difficult for the team.
If your team has a 5-stage selling process, you need to know the applicability of the Sandler sales method to each stage and then spot the ones that can be used from start to finish.
The best way to use different questions to improve your sales process
As a salesperson, one of the important aspects of your job is to provide the best answers to the most important questions until you understand your prospect’s situation and pain points. This will help you to either provide a suitable solution or accept that this sale is not for you. To understand your prospect, you must ask questions that move your sales process forward.
Let’s know more about how to ask the right questions to your prospect to boost your sales.
- Instead of jumping right into a sales conversation with the product or service's features, ask engaging questions to encourage the prospect to think about the product positively.
- Before calling your prospect, make sure to do a little bit of homework — do some research about your prospect, know more about their company and use that knowledge to frame better questions.
- If you make a good impression by asking meaningful questions within the first few seconds of the call, you will build a good connection with your prospect along with credibility.
Once you build a good connection with the prospect, start gathering information on the issues that matter most to them. This will help you dive into the actual problem that your prospect is facing. For example:
- “Would you mind telling me the issues that you are concerned about right now?’”
- “Last time we spoke, you’d mentioned that ____ was a challenging issue for you. Since when have you been facing this issue? Could you please tell me a little more?”
- “What do you think is the real problem?”
- “If the situation does not change, how do you think you or your business would be affected?"
Effective questioning is the key to boosting sales, and it will give you a clearer picture of the prospect’s thinking process. Put yourself in the prospect’s shoes and be genuinely curious about their world. These questioning strategies will help you in the early stages of the business relationship.
How can Wingman help you implement the Sandler sales methodology?
If you want to implement the Sandler sales method for your team more efficiently, you should be looking into sales technology. Tools like Wingman can, for instance, make it much easier for you to both rollout and track the adoption of a sales method by the team.
While we won’t go into the details here, with Wingman you can set up topics to track the adoption of the sales method. What this means is that you can check whether your reps are indeed asking the questions that they are supposed to, based on the sales method you’ve agreed to follow.
Besides this, Wingman will also serve up the right information at the right time to your reps via sales battlecards when they are on sales calls, to help with customer objections. You can also review the transcript easily later on (view highlights and analysis) and see how close or far your sales reps are from following the ideal process.
The Sandler Sales Methodology focuses on making sure that the prospect is satisfied. The long 7-step process of lead qualification may result in fewer deals at times. But if the prospect picks the wrong product or service, sooner or later, they will find some other place where they will find a better product to match their needs and wants.
We believe that the Sandler Sales Method works much better in the long run and is very helpful to make your organization form a strong base of loyal customers and drop the churn rate significantly.
PS: It helps to remember that no matter what sales methodology you adopt, the key to any successful sales model lies in proper execution.