Sandler’s sales methodology

For over 50 years there has been a popular sales method, the Sandler Selling System. Essentially, this system emphasises qualification rather than closing.


For a sales rep, this is an important methodology to consider, as 88% of salespeople who have undergone Sandler training have reported that their sales strategy has improved.


In addition, 50% more salespeople reach quota than those who have not undergone Sandler training.


Below we will discuss what the Sandler Sales System is and how to implement it in your team.


The Sandler Selling System, developed in 1967 by David Sandler, focuses on having sales representatives act as consultants rather than pushy salespeople. The strategy focuses on asking the right questions during the qualification process, rather than pushing a product to someone who doesn't need it.


Essentially, Sandler's approach to sales is unique in its emphasis on building mutual trust between salespeople and prospects. Throughout the process, the sales rep will act as an advisor and ask questions to assess most obstacles from the qualification stage.


Emma Brudner, former marketing director at HubSpot, said: "If a sales rep discovers that their offer won't be able to solve a potential customer's problems, they won't waste time convincing them that this is indeed the case - they will simply abandon the process. Instead of the salesperson convincing the buyer to buy, it's the buyer who almost convinces the salesperson to sell."


Although at first glance Sandler's sales process may resemble a traditional sales system, the emphasis is on the qualification stage rather than the closing stage.


The process consists of three general stages, but is broken down into seven steps. These three stages are: relationship building, qualifying and closing the sale. Let's dive into the step-by-step guide below.


Sandler Selling System


1. Bonding and rapport building.

In relationship building, the first step is to establish a bond with the potential customer. This should encourage open and honest communication.


2. Up-front contracts.

The second step in the relationship building process is to establish roles and expectations. During this phase, it is important to establish ground rules and create a comfortable environment in which to do business.


3. Pain.

The third step takes us to the second stage of the system - the qualification phase. Now that you've built rapport and set expectations for how this sales process will work, it's time to dive in and discover the problems your prospect is facing.


This part of the conversation will help you identify pain points and reasons why your product or service can help your potential customer.


4. Budget.

Usually this element of the sales conversation comes at the end of the process, but in the Sandler Sales System, budget is discussed as early as the qualification stage. If a potential customer can't afford your product, there's no point in wasting time trying to sell it to them.


During this part of the qualification process you will find out if your potential customer is willing and able to invest the time, money and resources needed to solve their problem.


5. Decision.

The last part of the qualification phase is to discuss the decision-making process. Find out who, what, where, why, and how the prospect wants the buying process to go.


6. Fulfillment.

Moving on to the closing stage of the process, this is the point at which you will offer your product or service as a solution to the potential customer's problem. Your proposal will satisfy their requests, especially those related to budget and decision-making.


Don't forget to use everything you learned during the qualification process in your proposal.


7. Post-sell.

At this point, it's time to seal the deal. Determine your next steps and prevent losing out to competitors or buyer's remorse.


Now that we've discussed what the Sandler Selling System is, you may be wondering: "How do I implement this in my business?".


Let's walk through how to train sales reps using the Sandler system below.


Sandler training

To get started with the Sandler sales system, you can have your sales reps take Sandler training courses online. In fact, Sandler Training offers many training and development courses, both in-person and online.


Sandler sales template

As a visualisation, the Sandler system is best represented by the image of a submarine. According to the website:


"When David Sandler was developing his selling system, he chose the imagery of a submarine to communicate his vision.


Image Source

He was inspired by watching movies about World War II, when submarines were attacked, to avoid flooding, the crew moved through each compartment, closing the door of the previous compartment behind them.


The Sandler Selling System requires the same procedure to avoid ‘disaster' on a sales call. Your goal is to move through each compartment, or step of the selling system, to arrive safely at a successful sale."



From a historical perspective, The Sandler Selling System has turned out to be one of the best systems for getting to know your prospects. This system allows you to build a system to truly qualify your prospects so you sell to the right people.


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