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Berkshire | david.davies@sandler.com

Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) says "Losers have goals; Winners have systems".

They say that less than 8% ever achieve that goal they were '100% committed to' when they set it.

The reason, I suspect, is because they forget to develop a systematic approach to achieving their goal. Thus, they bash their shins on the first hurdle and fall to the side of the track.

"I want to run faster!".

“Great! How much faster? Over how long? What actions will you take to find those incremental improvements? How often will you perform those improvement actions? How will you measure your improvement? Who's holding the stopwatch (Coaching you)? What does it mean to you to be 'faster'? What will you do when you are faster? What will stop you from getting 'faster'?"

There is an acronym to describe what the word System stands for:

So You Save Time, Energy and Money.

If you are going to be a 'Goal Getter', rather than simply a 'Goal Setter', you are going to need a system.
Nowhere is a systematic approach more powerful than in the world of sales.

Of course, there are those that will continue to proclaim, 'The Naturals', but I've never met a ‘Natural’ in my 35-year sales and sales leadership career. Nobody came out of their Mother’s Womb closing deals. To win at sales, the majority of the time, you must learn and consistently employ a selling system that is more powerful than your prospect's buying system.

You need a system that is direct, no-nonsense. You need a system that frames your sales calls as a business meeting among equals, not the typical subservient 'show me wotcha' got' pantomime that is played out in most prospect meetings.

A great selling system has the salesperson behaving like a highly paid business consultant.

Instead of treating a prospect to another sales call, you offer an honest, non-manipulative exchange of information. The effect is refreshing and frankly disarming.

Let's stop for a moment to discuss Consultative Selling. This word has been bandied around for some years now and is quite frankly the most poorly represented movement in Sales. Do you know what most 'sales' peoples' application of the Consultative Selling approach is?

"I asked a few questions, didn't I???"

The Sandler System is a conversational selling system that is truly consultative from 'hello' to 'let's work together'.

Here's a brief overview of the system. It might not be for you but take this 2-minute whistle stop tour through the system.

Step 1: Establish Rapport (Stop acting like a salesperson)

Prospects erect a defensive "wall" when they think you are trying to sell them something.

What you must do is get the prospect comfortable with you. Help them know that you understand their problem from their point of view. Make them comfortable with you so you can begin to establish a relationship. And continue to build on that rapport and trust throughout the entire selling relationship, not just during the first five minutes.

If you look like, smell like, act like a Salesperson, you’re sunk and they'll throw you out the door at the first 'polite' opportunity or even worse make feel like you've got 'one' and then disappear off into the 'witness protection' program.

Step 2: Establish an Up-front Contract (Add control and predictability)

Before every football game the referee calls the captains from both teams together in the centre circle. The Captains are asked for a clean game and they decide who will kick off and who will start to play at each end of the pitch. Everything is clear and understood. Can you imagine the chaos that might ensue if the Captains and Referee did not agree - upfront - on the rules?

In sales, the Up-front Contract serves that purpose. It establishes a clear understanding between the prospect and the salesperson about what each has a right to expect from the other. Ground rules establish behavioural boundaries, decision-making steps and the necessary actions that must be taken to fulfil those expectations.

The amateur salesperson who sets weak Up-front Contracts deludes themselves. They rush back to the office and shout "Got one, Boss!". When, in fact, what they have is nothing.

Step 3: Uncover and probe your prospect's "pain" (No pain, No sale!)

People buy emotionally - they only use logic to justify their decisions.

The most intense emotion people experience is pain. What you must understand is this: if your prospect has no pain, there will be no easy sale. People will continue to do what they've done all their lives until the pain of maintaining the status-quo is greater than the pain of making a change. If you do not learn how to uncover the prospect's pain, you will continue to sell using the most difficult of all antiquated principles, the law of averages!

The law of 'averages' is exactly what makes the average, average.

Step 4: Get all the money issues out on the table (No money, No sale!)

You must not only address the cost of your goods or services to get a sale, but, more importantly, you must address the cost to your prospect if they do nothing!

What is the financial impact of the pain you have uncovered?

You must deal with the budget step to make sure that you can get paid for what you do. Once you have uncovered your prospect's pain, and you are certain there is money, time, and the necessary resources, available to get rid of their pain, you can move forward.

Step 5: Learn your prospect's decision-making process (No decision, No Sale!)

Do they make Decisions completely independently? Pretty rare in my experience.

Do they get help from associates or partners (in business and in life)?

Do they prefer to 'think things over' or make decisions now?

Can they decide to invest to resolve their personal and professional pains?

You have uncovered pain and you've received a financial commitment to resolve those pains.

You must understand the decision-making process your prospect goes through, and you and the prospect must have a clear understanding of what it will take to do business together.

Step 6: Present an elegant solution (solve your prospect's Pain)

Now if you have stayed with me this far, you might have spotted some subtle clues to what happens in the Presentation step.

That's right! Your presentation has little to do with the features and benefits your Marketing department are so passionate about. Instead it has everything to do with showing your prospect that you understand their pain and how your product or service can get rid of his pain.

Prospect's DO NOT buy features and benefits. They DO buy ways to overcome pain.

Step 7: Bring the process to a conclusion (help them close themselves!)

Your prospect should be ready to close because:

During the Pain Step, the prospect saw your expertise and interest, and the fit between his pains and your product/service
During the Budget Step, you discovered the prospect’s budget and know that your product or service will fit that budget
During the Decision Step, you discovered who the decision makers are and what they want to hear from you

You have established an Up-front contract about what will take place during the presentation and that a decision of Yes or No will follow the presentation. An “ultimate contract”
NEVER ask for the order; MAKE the prospect give up! Let them conclude the sale. That way they can never accuse you of putting any pressure on them.

If you want to talk about improving your sales performance, building predictable revenues, successful long-term client retention and creating more profit for your bottom line you can contact me directly on:
eMail: david.davies@sandler.com
Phone: +44 (0)118 969 1752
Web: www.thamesvalley.sandler.com
“I have never walked away from more sales in my life. Sales that were never going to be profitable. Business Relationships that stole every ounce of my dignity. Sales that would have tarnished my companies reputation. Thank you for making me the sales professional I am today. I make choices and I never look back.”

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