In Sandler, we have a list of guidelines we like to call the Sandler Rules. Simply put, the Sandler Rules are what separates the truly successful salespeople from those who worked hard and never seem to hit their stride.
David Sandler reasoned that if he could guide salespeople to do the appropriate behaviors, the success would almost be effortless. And from that reasoning, the Sandler Rules came about.
It’s no coincidence that the first six Sandler Rules are a guideline to drastically changing your selling process. They are a great set of guidelines that start salespeople down that right path of better behavior.
Rule #1: You have to learn to fail, to win.
Just ask anyone who’s ever done cold calling: You’re going to get a lot of no’s. Getting no’s is not failing. Cold callers believe you have to get through the no’s to get to the yes’s.
While that’s certainly true, if you really want to win, you need to learn something from each of those no’s. And the principle extends beyond just cold calling. Any time a contract falls through, a prospect is a no-show to a meeting, or a networking event is a bust, you can still win.
You do so by examining what happened, and make sure you learn a lesson.
Rule #2: Don’t spill your candy in the lobby.
When you go on a sales call, you bring with you a “box of candy,” your expertise and knowledge. If you start sharing that with your prospect too early, it can easily derail the entire deal.
If you’re routinely dropping off brochures, pamphlets and business cards, you’re spilling your candy in the lobby. You’re trying to get a prospect interested, or even trying to get them to buy, without really understanding their needs.
The best way to help your prospect early on is not by dumping candy. It’s by asking questions, lots of questions, to try to see if you would really be a good fit for them.
Rule #3: No mutual mystification.
How often have you met with a prospect, and you didn’t really know what they were looking for. Or maybe you tried to set a meeting with a prospect, but didn’t really want to share that you were going to try to sell them something.
Stop it! It’s your job as a salesperson not to waste your prospects’ time, and not to waste your own time. Making expectations clear up-front and communicating clearly is your responsibility. That’s how you avoid mutual mystification.
Rule #4: A decision not to make a decision is a decision.
Have you met with a prospect, thought everything went well, then they told you they needed to think it over? Or maybe they said they would get back with you, but they never did.
That’s the way prospects are used to dealing with people in sales. They feel uncomfortable saying no, so instead they say they’re going to think it over.
Once you know that, all you have to do is give your prospects permission to say no up front. Something like, “When we’re meeting, you may decide that we’re not a good fit, and that’s okay. All I would ask is that you be up front and tell me. Is that fair?”
Rule #5: Never answer an unasked question.
You probably have some features about your product or service that you think make your competition the obvious choice. But you can’t assume your prospect thinks the same way that you do. In fact, if you bring up those benefits, you’re really trying to read your prospect’s mind!
Instead of sharing features and benefits, just focus on the issues and questions that your prospect actually brings up. The goal of any presentation is to share the aspects of your product or service that exactly line up with what the prospect has shared with you. Anything more can potentially derail the sale.
Rule #6: Don’t buy back tomorrow the product or service you sold today.
If you’ve ever closed a deal, only to get a phone call that night, or the next day saying to hold off, then you know exactly what this rule is all about. At that point, you’ve bought back the product or service you just sold.
Don’t! Instead of trying to deal with buyer’s remorse, eliminate it completely. Make sure your prospect is 100% sure they want to buy by asking something like, “Is there anything we haven’t talked about that would make you uncomfortable about moving forward?”
Even better, before they sign, you be the one that brings back up any specific issues they mentioned before. Remind them about those issues and what you discussed, and make sure they’re still comfortable moving forward.
It’s easy to read about these rules and see how they could transform your selling process. The difficult thing is to actually put them into practice, become skilled at them, and make them a habit. But that’s what we help clients do every week!
If you’d like help from Sandler in making these changes, give us a call at 405-844-1700.