You’re sitting at your computer, and you press a key expecting something specific to happen. It doesn’t. The first thing you do is press the key again. Again, what you expect to happen doesn’t. You press the key again and again, but still no result. The only way you are going to achieve the result you want is to press another key—to change your behavior. In selling, the only way to change your result is to change your behavior. Practicing the same behaviors you have for years will only get you the same results you’ve had for years. Sandler training gets you to recognize and change your behaviors, and teaches proven, nontraditional techniques to help you achieve the change in results that you are looking for.
The Shape of Pain
When uncovering pain, you move the prospect from the general to the specific—from the surface problem to the underlying reason and the personal impacts. That’s why the Sandler Pain FunnelSM is just that—a funnel. It takes the prospect from the “top,” a statement of the surface problem, through the examination of what the problem is costing, what has been tried in the past, how the problem is affecting the prospect, and whether the prospect has given up trying to deal with the problem. By following this questioning technique for each surface problem identified by the prospect, what comes out the “bottom” of the funnel is a prospect who is well on the way to being qualified or disqualified based on pain.
When determining a prospect’s decision making process, you can use the technique of creating a Cast of Characters to understand the dynamics you have to work with. The Star(s) will be the person with authority and control over resources, typically a president, CEO or owner. Costars may include vice presidents, CFOs and directors, who focus on carrying out policies and influencing the star. The star will often delegate decision making responsibilities to co-stars.
Supporting Actors, often managers and supervisors, have little purchasing authority or limited influence, but are responsible for gathering and analyzing data for the decision. Bit Players include staff and salespeople who have little or no authority in the decision, but can provide information about products, services and vendors.
You Make the Call
Situation: You are in front of a prospect who just doesn’t seem to be paying attention. As you talk about your product, he keeps glancing over to his computer screen to see what new e-mails have come in, then changing his focus to noise in the hallway, and the traffic in front of the window. You’re becoming frustrated, and are thinking of just ending the sales call.
Action: Stop stating and start asking. Ask the prospect questions. Answering questions will keep the prospect engaged in the sales call, and help you uncover the information you need to qualify the prospect and make the sale. Don’t forget reversing (with softening statements) to keep the dialog active and keep the prospect in the role of supplying information.
Techniques for Selling, and for Life
A Sandler-trained salesperson knows to allow the prospect to do 70% of the talking. It’s the only way the salesperson will uncover and understand the prospect’s pain and will gather the information needed to make a successful sale. Listening skills can also be invaluable in everyday life. We encounter situations almost daily where listening can make the difference between making the right or wrong choice, or can mean that you truly understand what someone is trying to communicate, rather than just taking in a few words and making assumptions. Make a conscious effort to give listening a try.