The Sandler Sales methodology has been around for decades, and the approach, with its core principles and the pain funnel, remains as valid today as it did in the 1960s when David Sandler first created it.
What is the Sandler Sales Methodology?
The Sandler Sales methodology is focused on a customer-centric, relationship-based, selling approach — ideal for complex deals with long sales cycles.
Sandler codified what he viewed as the core principles of repeatable sales success in his 49 Sandler Rules. The rules provide guidance for all phases of sales, and the book titled The Sandler Rules: 49 Timeless Selling Principles and How to Apply Them, is recommended reading for anyone wanting to go deep in the process.
We are also including the 49 Sandler Rules in this article, with links to the individual blog posts on the Sandler website, we will not attempt to match the wisdom of the source.
- Rule 1 – You have to learn how to fail to win -> Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 2 – Don’t Spill Your Candy in the Lobby -> Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 3 – No mutual-mystification -> Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 4 – A decision to not make a decision is a decision -> Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 5 – Never answer an unasked question -> Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 6 – Don’t buy back tomorrow the product or service you sold today. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 7 – Avoid the drama triangle. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 8 – When prospecting, go for the appointment. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 9 – Don’t get smoked in the interview. Read the blog.
- Rule 10 – Develop a prospecting awareness. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 11 – Money does grow on trees, referral trees. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 12 – Answer every question with a question. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 13 – Be a comfort zone buster. Read the blog.
- Rule 14 – Risk failure to achieve growth. Read the blog.
- Rule 15 – The best presentation you will ever give the prospect will never see. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 16 – Never ask the order; make the prospect give up. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 17 – The professional does what he did as a dummy on purpose. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 18 – Don’t paint seagulls in your prospect’s picture. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 19 – Never help the prospect end the interview. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 20 – The bottom line of professional selling is going to the bank. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 21 – Sell today; educate tomorrow. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 22 – People don’t argue with their own data. Read the blog.
- Rule 23 – The best way to get rid of a bomb is to diffuse it before it blows up. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 24 – Product knowledge can be intimidating when used at the wrong time. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 25 – When you want to know the future, bring it to the present. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 26 – People buy in spite of the hard sell, not because of it. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 27 – You can’t sell anybody anything. Watch the Youtube video.
- Rule 28 – When under attack, fall back. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 29 – Your meters always running. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 30 – You can’t lose anything that you don’t have. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 31 – Close the sale or close the deal. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 32 – Get an IOU for everything you do. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 33 – On Your Way to the Bank, Keep One Eye Over Your Shoulder. Watch the Youtube video.
- Rule 34 – Work smart, not hard. Watch the Youtube video.
- Rule 35 – If the competition is doing it, stop doing it right away. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 36 – Only decision-makers can get others to make decisions. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 37 – All prospects lie, all the time. Read the blog.
- Rule 38 – The problem the prospect brings you is never the real problem. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 39 – When all else fails, become a consultant. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 40 – Fake it ’til you make it. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 41 – There are no bad prospects, only bad salespeople. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 42 – A winner has alternatives; a loser puts all their eggs in one basket. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 43 – You don’t learn how to win by getting a yes; you learn by getting a no. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 44 – When your foot hurts, you are probably standing on your own toe. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 45 – Express your feelings through third-party stories. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 46 – There is no such thing as a good try. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 47 – Selling is a broadway play performed by a psychiatrist. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 48 – A life without risk is a life without growth. Listen to the podcast.
- Rule 49 – Leave your child in the car. Listen to the podcast.
We cannot say it enough. Listen to the podcast episodes on the Sandler sit to learn more about each rule.
What is the Sandler Pain Funnel?
The Sandler Pain Funnel is a tool that helps sales professionals identify and qualify potential buyers. It does this by asking questions, in a specific order, about the buyer’s business pain and how they would go about solving it.
Here are the Sandler pain funnel questions.
- “Tell me more about that …”
- “Can you be more specific?”
- “Give me an example … “
- “How long has that been a problem?”
- “What have you tried to do about that?”
- “Has anything you’ve tried worked?”
- “How much do you think this has cost you?”
- “How do you feel about how much this has cost you?”
- “What kind of trouble does that cause you?”
- “Have you given up trying to deal with this problem?”
Note: You do not have to use the exact questions, but these provide guidance for the general approach.
The Sandler Pain Funnel is designed to uncover the buyer’s needs, of course, but also to help the rep build rapport and from that rapport a relationship, with the buyer.
The Sandler Sales Methodology takes, as you may recall, a customer-centric, relationship-based, approach.
Disclosure: We are reader-supported. If you click on a link and make a purchase of the items linked below we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.
Note: We created the Sandler funnel (on the right) with Lucidchart and we are happy to share the project with you directly, just reach out to us and we will share the project with you if that is of value.
What is the Sandler Success Triangle?
The Sandler Success Triangle is a tool that sales professionals can use to assess their sales process and performance. It is made up of three components:
- Activity – How much work are you putting in? The number of calls, emails sent, and meetings booked/held.
- Attitude – Bring the right attitude to work every day, every activity.
- Technique – A measure of your skills. Improve and build your sales skills.
Learning any methodology takes work.
Incorporating it fully into your go-to-market approach — even more.
But the deeper you embed it into your work, the more powerful it can become.
Consider these key technologies are you work to do both.
What is Sandler Sales Training?
Sandler Sales Training is a training program that helps sales professionals learn the Sandler Selling System. The training can be taken through Sandler directly or from certified Sandler Trainers across the globe.
What skills and lessons do you get through Sandler Training?
Sandler focuses on teaching:
- How to better understand buyers and their businesses
- Skills to more effectively sell to buyers
- Developing relationships
- Overcoming objections
- Closing deals
Here is a wonderful example from Sandler on Prospecting, the Sandler Way. This will give you a sense of their approach.
To learn more about Sandler Sales Training, connect with them directly.
Review these and reach out to the Sandler team.
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The Sandler Sales Methodology has lasted so long for a reason – it works in a variety of sales situations.
If you sell complex solutions over the course of a long sales cycle, consider implementing it for your solution.