Have you ever wondered, “What am I doing wrong?” or, “How can I take my practice to the next level?” If you have, you’re not alone, and you’re in luck. Our newest book release, Asking Questions The Sandler Way, answers both of those quandaries and reveals so much more. In the book, Sandler trainer and author, Antonio Garrido, outlines how he revitalized his practice by changing his approach. Below we have identified a few key takeaways from the book.
1. Sellers must see through “illusions” on sales calls.
One of the most important skills salespeople can possess is comprehension. The ability to listen actively and understand a prospect’s true desires and pains is very important. To become proficient in this area, it means not taking everything at face-value and searching for the true meaning behind each question or phrase coming from your prospect.
As this is a challenging task, David Sandler created a tool to help salespeople get to the truth behind prospect’s smoke screens. It’s called reversing. To implement this technique, when a prospect states something that may be misleading or easily misunderstood, simply ask for clarification. Put it back in your prospect’s court and get them to go into more detail about the pain they are experiencing. This approach seems elementary, but you would be surprised about how many sellers have “happy ears” and misread the situation.
2. “Seal off” compartments as you progress.
If you’re familiar with the Sandler Selling System, this takeaway will be nothing new, but it bears repeating as it has great importance. The phrase “seal off” is appropriate if you view the selling system as if you’re walking through the confines of a submarine. As you advance from one selling compartment to the next, ensure you fully complete the previous step before you progress. For example, you always want to establish mutual ground rules for each interaction with a prospect, before attempting to determining their wants, needs, and their willingness to invest.
This technique can be applied to any sort of project or undertaking you wish to tackle. Carefully plan your approach, break it down into actionable steps or tasks, and ensure completion of each one before moving on. Opening too many doors can lead to confusion about which way to go next for yourself and your prospect.
3. Navigate through the pain funnel the right way.
The phrase “pain funnel” may sound unusual at first, but it accurately describes the process of identifying what’s really at the root of your prospect’s issues. By studying the Sandler Pain Funnel and properly identifying what questions to ask, you can better comprehend your prospects’ and clients’ needs.
The pain funnel is a series of clarifying questions which encourage your prospect to expand on what they have said. It starts very broad with “tell me more about that…” and concludes with the very personal question, “have you given up trying to deal with the problem?” The purpose of this process is to ask a series of questions to get as much detail from the prospect to understand their true pain points, so you can provide potential solutions.
4. Agreeing to disagree doesn’t work in this business.
In many relationships, compromise is the key to a healthy dynamic. In selling, that’s not the case. Having everyone on the same page keeps the sales process neat and plugging along at a steady pace. A shared vision allows for effectiveness and efficiency because everyone is on the same page.
It’s important to remember that you’re the expert in the relationship. You’re the one providing value in an area where the prospect needs help. If you think of yourself as an expert, it will enable you to be more confident during the sales process so you can ask the right questions, and sometimes tough questions of your prospects. Remember, experts, like doctors, don’t need to teach you everything they know about medicine. They just need to ask you the right questions to uncover your problem and devise a solution.
In order to take your sales process to the next level, it’s important that every meeting with a prospect is grounded with the right questions to keep the process moving in the right direction. Antonio Garrido addresses the right questions to ask in a sales call and much more in his new book.