Powerful Selling System: Gain in the Pain!

David Sandler was one of the most successful salesmen in the United States. He founded the Sandler Sales Institute and created the famous Sandler Selling System. His weapons were honesty, wit, incisive intellect and a fundamental grasp of human nature. He died in 1995, but his legacy lives on through the many Sandler Sales Institute franchises.

A friend recommended Sandler’s book, You Can’t Teach A Kid to Ride A Bike At A Seminar. In the book, I was introduced to the Sandler System, which describes the path you should follow in your sales efforts as if you were walking through the closing compartments of a submarine. I found these cornerstones of the Sandler System valuable:

  1. Image Sandler Selling SystemYou must uncover your prospect’s “pain.” – People buy emotionally, but they must make decisions intellectually. What’s the most intense emotion? Pain. Without pain, there’s no easy sale or perhaps there’s no sale at all. Without pain, people will continue to do what they’ve done all their lives until maintaining the status quo becomes so painful that something new is required. Unless you learn to uncover a prospect’s pain, you will continue to sell using the most difficult of traditional selling principles — the law of averages!
  2. You must get all the money issues out on the table – While you need to discuss the cost of your product or service, it’s more important to discuss the cost to your prospect if they do nothing. Deal with money so that you can get paid for what you do. Once you uncover the prospect’s pain, and you know money is available to get rid of the pain, you can progress to the third step.
  3. You must discover the decision-making process your prospect uses when deciding to buy or not buy a product or service – Is the prospect empowered to make the decision alone? Will an associate or spouse be involved in the decision-making? Does the prospect like to think things over and decide later? Ultimately, can the prospect make the decision to spend the money to get rid of the pain?
  4. You must present a solution that will get rid of the prospect’s pain – Traditionalists would say, “Aha, this is where you talk features and benefits.” No you don’t. Your sales presentations has little to do with the features and benefits touted by the marketing department and everything to do with showing your prospect that your product or service can eliminate the pain. Contrary to what the traditionalists say, prospects do not buy features and benefits. They buy things to help them overcome or avoid pain. All you need to do is show your prospects that your product or service will eliminate their pain. It’s as simple as that.
  5. You most post-sell your sale – How often have your sales slipped away after you concluded the sale? Perhaps it doesn’t happen in your business. But when a salesperson takes business away from a competitor, the competitor usually doesn’t surrender. Chances are that your competitor will make a run at saving the business. How? By lowballing your price. Once the gloves are off, the competitor isn’t going to be pleasant about it. Without a post-sell, you will get assaulted by your competitor. So, close the sale and do everything to officially take the order, thank your customer for the order and deliberately bring up a compromise that occurred during the selling cycle.

By following these five steps, David Sandler would expect you to win the “selling dance” the majority of the time. Of course, it requires practice, practice and practice. Good luck selling!


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