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Sales Process

Sandler's Up Front Contract allows you to control the sales process. This will help establish a consultative selling process, as well as get a yes/no decision from your prospect as you achieve a close-rate between 90 and 100%.

People don't buy features and benefits.  They buy solutions to their problems.  Their motivation to solve their problem with your product is based on you finding and understanding their "pain".  Once we know their pain, we're equipped to not only solve it, but to close the sale.

If you manage your sales process well, closing is the easiest part of the sale. In the Sandler System, Fulfillment is when we provide a proposal or a presentation. It comes only after we've followed all the steps that lead to this point, including

1. Bonding and Rapport
2. Up Front Contract
3. Pain
4. Budget
5. Decision
Now we're ready to present, but not before setting the ultimate up front contract. A yes/no decision when the presentation/proposal is presented.

Too many salespeople are willing to perform free services for their customers without any discussion whatsoever. The salesperson hopes the customer will give him some consideration in return.  But hope is not a strategy.  A few simple questions can help ensure your customer values the extras you provide.

Many successful professionals who consider attending our Negotiating Mastery Webinar ask us how Sandler Training has benefited other people like them. I thought I’d share a couple short stories with you.
Here’s what Brian, CEO of IT Services Company relayed. "Before Sandler...

By now, you may have seen a couple of our posts about our Negotiating Mastery Webinar. We posted “a day in the life” story about how “How Dave Mastered The Art of Negotiation”.  We also learned how other companies and professionals have benefited from working with Sandler Training by Mercury. For example, ....


One of the distinguishing characteristics of top performers in sales is the ability to avoid two common, self-imposed mental handicaps: reachback and afterburn.

Reachback is what happens when an impending event begins to have a negative influence on our attitude and behavior.  This is might be seen when the salesperson's outlook may be disturbed for hours or even days at the very thought of going into a fearful situation, such as cold calling.

Afterburn is the flip side of reachback. We’ve all experienced it. It’s what happens when a past event has a lasting negative influence on our present behavior. 

Read on to find out how to avoid these sales killers.

Stay Out Of The Box!
Vincent’s closing numbers were not what he had been hoping for. He asked his manager,
Lynnette, what she thought the problem might be. After a little role-playing, Lynnette
suggested that Vincent was spending too much time selling “from inside a box.”  

He was getting trapped answering questions from the prospect, before he had an understanding of the prospect's needs.

Stripping line is a trick familiar to experienced anglers. Novice fishermen, when they feel a fish nibbling on their bait, try to set the hook by yanking the line. They usually end up with an empty hook—no fish—because the fish was only nibbling; it hadn’t swallowed the bait. That strategy is analogous to attempting to close a prospect at the first sign of interest or enthusiasm.


Diane, a recent sales hire, is debriefing a sales call with her manager, Luis.  Luis said, “In your meeting, you immediately answered her question about delivery-time windows.”  Diane thought for a moment, and then said: “Was it a problem?” Diane remembered Luis teaching Diane about “reversing” – the technique of answering a prospect’s question with a question.

The technique of answering a question with a question, or reversing, is particularly
effective in the early phases of a discussion with a prospective buyer. Some of the benefits
associated with reversing are....

Nobody wants to be sold to, but everyone wants to buy. Start working on the right side of the equation, by not looking or acting like a sales person. Tool #1, Sandler's Negative Reverse.

Ryan, a salesperson in his mid-fifties, had hit a performance plateau. His commissions had been
flat for the past six months, and he had narrowly missed quota in each of those months. He
scheduled a meeting with his manager, Jeannine, to see if, working together, they could identify
any steps that would turn this pattern around...

Perhaps the easiest way to avoid wasting time with questionable opportunities is to be
more selective about which ones you allow to enter the pipeline in the first place. A more
stringent “pre-pipeline” screening step may be worth considering. What are the criteria for
entering that active phase of your pipeline?

Having a big pipeline of “prospects” is typically seen as desirable. The more prospects you put into the pipeline, the more will eventually emerge as customers. At least that’s the theory!

And in principle, the theory is valid. Some of the people you put in the pipeline will become customers. But we always need to ask ourselves two important questions about our pipeline: “How many of these opportunities do I expect to turn into customers…and how long will it take for them to emerge from the other end of the pipe?”

For some salespeople, the vagueness of their initial prospect meetings carries through to their eventual presentations. They fail to establish clear connecting links between the elements of their proposed offer and the specific aspects of the prospect’s requirements. Instead, their presentations focus too narrowly on their product or service, their company’s capabilities, and in some cases, on themselves.

Many of our clients ask how they can be more effective closing, or overcoming stalls and objections. The first thing to consider…. Most problems in closing are because of missteps made earlier in the sales process, not because of mistakes in the presentation or proposal.

Tom, a recent sales hire, was struggling. He knew his closing ratios were not what they could be. He asked his manager, Victor, for some help in figuring out why.

Victor agreed to sit in on some of Tom’s initial phone discussions with prospective buyers, and to accompany Tom on a couple of his sales meetings. After work, the two went out to lunch together to debrief on everything that had happened, and to see if Victor could offer Tom any insights that might improve his interactions with prospective buyers.

Sandler Training brings you a brief overview of the Sandler process and the Buyer's Process.

When you meet a new prospect, how do you position your product or service? How do you characterize its features, functions, and advantages? What motivates people to buy? The prevalent theory is that people buy to either gain pleasure…or avoid pain.

Has this ever happened to you? You’ve finally obtained the appointment. You’re looking forward to meeting with the prospect and asking questions you carefully prepared in order to qualify the opportunity.

The budget step is where we ensure the prospect is both willing and able to invest in our product or service. As the 4th step in Sandler Training's sales process, we need to ensure the prospect is qualified before doing a presentation or proposal.

Two key aspects of the Sandler sales system are: 
- Don't be a sales person. People don't want to be sold, but they want to buy. Create an environment where people feel comfortable buying.
- Understand human psychology. That means understanding and being able to understand your prospect, as well as understanding yourself.

Mark’s sales manager asked him for his sales forecast for the month. What will really close?  Will Mark miss his forecast again?  ....

I don't suppose the Sandler sales system could be worth a try?

If you don't have a sales system, then you are likely following the buyers' system. And the prospect is in control of the buyers' system.
The seven step Sandler system puts you in control, while letting your prospect feel in control. The Sandler seven steps include Bonding & Rapport, Up Front Contract, Pain, Budget, Decision, Fulfillment, and Post-sell.

Do you want more sales?  The number one tip we give to people who attend our monthly public sales workshops....ask better questions.

The post sell step is the last step of Sandler's seven step sales process. After ensuring our prospect is qualified and delivering the presentation, we use the post sell step to avoid buyers remorse and insulate against any weakness in the close.

Too often, sales professionals make one fundamental mistake that could be costing them thousands in commissions. They believe that their job is to ... 

Sandler's "Pain" step is designed to find the prospect's emotional reasons for buying. People buy emotionally and justify their decision intellectually. We use the Sandler pain funnel to help guide the prospect to share their emotional and personal reasons for buying.

Bonding and rapport is the toolset we use to understand and interact comfortably with prospects and allow them to build trust. Among these tools are a pattern interrupt, active listening, mirroring and matching, as well as the psychology of interactions among people.

Are you selling Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions to non-technology companies?
Or perhaps data center solutions, enabling your clients to put their data in the cloud?
Maybe digital marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), or inbound marketing?

It’s not all about specifications, features, or speeds and feeds. Especially if you’re selling to a business that’s not as technology-driven as yours. What I’m going to say may blow your mind…. but skip the specs and features until you’ve dug really deep to determine the problem you’re helping your prospect overcome.

The person asking the questions is the one in control. You don’t have to answer every prospect question. Instead, use the reversing technique to ask them a question.

Linc Miller talks about sales as a role, and not taking the ups and downs personally. Relax. Slow down to speed up.

Time is the most valuable thing you own. When you lose it, you can never get it back. make the prospect earn your time.

Negative reversing is a technique where you play hard to get in the sales process. You take something away, and let the prospect pursue it.

Arizona Technology Council Appoints Mark Kirstein and Linc Miller of Sandler Training as Facilitators of the Council’s Phoenix Executive Roundtable

When you're in a sales call, the prospect should be talking 80% of the time. Use Sandler's Reversing technique to be the one who is asking the questions.

Mike Uses Sandler Training- Be Like Mike

For many salespeople, having a full pipeline not only helps their self-confidence, but helps their sales manager have confidence that they are on track to stay on quota. However, it’s critical that opportunities in the pipeline are qualified and real. Prospects that don’t progress or close can be real time sinks.

You probably have some features about your product or service that you think make you the obvious choice . But you can't assume your prospect thinks the same way that you do. In fact, if you 'pitch' those benefits, you're really trying to read your prospect's mind! And it probably won't work. -Video-

Avoid talking about the advantages and benefits of your products or services until you've determined what they can do for your customer

Your knowledge of your product and industry is really important. However, if you’re not careful, it can be a thorn to your sales effectiveness.

Have you ever made a prospecting phone call whose central message sounded something like this? We’ve helped our clients (X, Y, and Z) to deliver (so-and-so benefit) with our (Such-and-Such brand product/service), which has (so-and-so feature). I’d love to meet with you ....

When you’re selling… put “educating” your prospect aside. This means you don’t start with product literature, demos or trials. Instead, start your sales meeting by asking really good questions. In a good sales meeting, you need a dialogue, not a monologue.

Ask us about our free sales training scholarships

Your 'best' presentation results from everything you do BEFORE you deliver it. It’s the culmination of the smart questions you ask while developing an understanding of your prospects needs, and emotional pains. It reflects the third-party stories and questions you’ve used to get the prospect emotionally attached to your product or service as a solution. It confirms the investment and decision-making process your prospect has revealed ahead of the presentation.

If things aren’t going your way in the sales process…maybe you need to look at your own actions…

We may not think that we're doing the "hard sell". After all, we're not being aggressive and not using tricks or pressure. However, whenever you build your sales strategy around your needs-and not the prospect's we're in the "hard sell".

People generally don’t like being told what to do. Children don’t like being told over and over again to clean their rooms, employees don’t like to be told over and over again that the Monday report is due Monday at 8am, and prospects don’t like to be told what they should buy and from whom. So how are you supposed to “sell” your products if you can’t “sell” anybody anything? .....

How many times have you left a sales call thinking one thing was going to happen only to find your prospect had something else in mind? Or maybe you thought you heard the prospect say he was faxing a signed contract, but it never shows up. As a group, salespeople have a common flaw: We only hear things we want to hear. We have happy ears, and we don’t know how to just come right out and ask the prospect for clearly identifiable and mutually agreed upon next steps. Remember to ask your prospect to “sum up” what he believes the next steps are, so both of you are on the same page..

LinkedIn and Sandler Training just launched a new project. An eBook that will change how you sell. We just received the new ebook prepared jointly by LinkedIn and Sandler called: LinkedIn the Sandler Way: 25 Secrets that Show Salespeople How to Leverage the World’s Largest Professional Network.

Sandler Training by Mercury Professional Development is proud to be a new Platinum Sponsor of the Arizona Technology Council. Mercury Professional Development has aligned with the Arizona Technology Council to add a unique focus to Sandler’s broader perspective: optimizing sales impact for technology companies and technology professionals..

Sandler Rule #21- Sell Today, Educate Tomorrow So, why is that person interested in buying your stuff? You step onto a car lot, ready to buy a new car. You want something 1) luxurious, 2) safe 3) and red. The engineer-turned-salesperson is excited about the technological advances of the new engine of a car that is 1) tiny 2) thrifty and 3) blue. You hear about the high-compression engine, direct ignition and synchronizers. He talks so much…you drive away…in your old car. Are you so ready to educate your prospect about your great product features that you lose the sale? Imagine the examples for your business.

Do your prospects have decision deficit disorder? Do you hear “think-it-over” more often than you hear “yes” or “no”? This often results from one of two causes, either:

Some will say selling is selling. Indeed, most professional selling techniques and processes are transferrable across industries. However being aware of the unique characteristics of the technology industry and the common personality traits of technology buyers can help you be a more effective salesperson.