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The Beginner’s Guide to the Sandler Sales Methodology

If you’re anything like me, you love systems and processes.

In fact, I think most sales reps enjoy a solid methodology even more than I do.

A popular sales method, the Sandler methodology, has been around for over 50 years. Essentially, this system emphasizes qualification rather than closing.

As a sales rep, this is an important methodology to consider because 88% of salespeople with Sandler training said their sales strategy improved.

Additionally, 50% more salespeople hit quotas than those without Sandler.

Below, let’s dive into what the Sandler sales method is and how to implement it on your team.

Essentially, the Sandler approach to sales is unique because it prioritizes building mutual trust between salespeople and prospects. During this process, the sales rep will act as an advisor and ask questions to assess the majority of obstacles right away in the qualification stage.

Emma Brudner, a former Marketing Director at HubSpot, says, “If the rep discovers that their offering won’t truly address the potential client’s concerns, they won’t waste time convincing them that it actually does — they’ll simply abandon the process. Rather than the seller convincing the buyer to buy, the buyer is almost convincing the seller to sell.”

While the Sandler sales process might look similar to a traditional sales lifecycle at first glance, the emphasis is on the qualification stage rather than the closing stage.

The process has three overall stages but is broken down into seven steps. The three stages are: building a relationship, qualification, and closing the sale. Let’s dive into the step-by-step guide below.

1. Bonding and rapport building.

During the first stage of relationship building, the first step is to establish a bond with your prospect. This should encourage open and honest communication.

2. Up-front contracts.

The second step in the relationship-building process is to establish roles and set expectations. During this phase, it’s important to set ground rules and create a comfortable environment within which to do business.

3. Pain.

This third step moves us into the second stage of the lifecycle – the qualification phase. Now that you’ve built rapport and set expectations for how this sales process will work, it’s time to dive in and uncover the problems your prospect has.

This part of the conversation will help you identify the pain points and reasons why your product or service can help this prospect.

4. Budget.

Normally you might see this component of a sales conversation toward the end of the process, but in the Sandler method, you’ll discuss the budget during the qualification phase. If your prospect can’t afford your product, there’s no point wasting your time trying to sell it to them.

During this part of the qualification process, you’ll discover if your prospect is willing and able to invest the time, money, and resources needed to fix their problem.

5. Decision.

The last part of the qualification phase is to discuss the decision-making process. Find out who, what, where, why, and how the prospect wants the buying process to go.

6. Fulfillment.

Moving on to the closing stage of the process, this is when you’ll propose your product or service as the solution to the prospect’s problem. Your proposal will fulfill their requests, specifically about the budget and the decision-making process.

Don’t forget to use everything you’ve learned during the qualifying process in your proposal.

7. Post-sell.

At this point, it’s time to seal the deal. Establish the next steps and prevent the loss of the loss to the competition or buyer’s remorse.

Now that we’ve discussed what the Sandler sales method is, you might be wondering, “How do I implement this at my company?”

Let’s review how to train your sales reps with the Sandler method below.

Sandler Training

To get started with the Sandler sales method, you can have your reps take Sandler training courses online. In fact, Sandler Training offers plenty of training and development courses both in-person and online.

Sandler Sales Template

As a visualization, the Sandler method is best represented by the image of a submarine. According to the website: 

“When David Sandler was developing his selling system, he chose the imagery of a submarine to communicate his vision.

He was inspired by watching movies about World War II, when submarines were attacked, to avoid flooding, the crew moved through each compartment, closing the door of the previous compartment behind them.

The Sandler Selling System requires the same procedure to avoid ‘disaster’ on a sales call. Your goal is to move through each compartment, or step of the selling system, to arrive safely at a successful sale.”

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The Sandler sales method isn’t the only methodology around, but it’s one of the best systems for getting to know your prospects. This method provides a great opportunity to truly qualify your prospects so you sell to the right people.