I was working with one of my clients who's been around Sandler Trainer for over eight years when I made a comment that caused him to stop and pause. The Sandler Rule was, "The best presentation you will ever give, the prospect will never see."
I made this statement about the fact that it's not what we sell that makes us different, it's how we sell it. Although he had heard that Sandler rule before, he was taken back and asked me to repeat it several times. What he began to understand was that to differentiate ourselves in selling situations we often look at the features and benefits of what we're selling. Some people even go so far as to look at the company, the marketplace, the product and the marketing department to find their unique selling proposition. However, in today’s world, almost anything can be deconstructed and replicated. Differentiation between close competitors is often the weakest of features.
How about this for a change? What if the way that we sell differentiates ourselves? What if when we ask questions and seek to understand before we try to sell that makes us different and unique? What if the fact that we occasionally and nurturingly challenge our prospect and get them to think about things they never thought of before? What if that makes us unique? What if that's a differentiator?
This is the power of this particular Sandler Rule. David Sandler figured out that if the prospect likes you and wants to do business with you, then they don’t let details stand in the way. If you are good enough and create a bond and rapport with your prospect, if you make them feel comfortable, in control of the situation, and OK to say “no,” you will build a stronger relationship and set yourself apart from the competition. And, if you do a good job of understanding their situation, budget, and decision-making process, and if you ask the right questions, then the prospect may have already made up their mind to do business with you. In which case, there is no need for further presenting or convincing.
At Sandler Training, we believe selling is a discovery and qualification process, not presenting, convincing, or persuading. Think about the last time you a salesperson tried to convince you of something. How did that work out for them? What about the last time you got a haircut or went to your favorite restaurant? How much presenting and convincing did they have to do?
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