Closing a deal is one of the best feelings in the world.
You grind all day to find warm contacts. You spend months following up with leads through calls and emails. You finally close the deal with a nice, fat commission to boot. After some time, the dopamine boost of making a sale ends. Uncertainty sets in. You start to think:
“Can I ever do this again?”
You can and you will learn how to do it in this guide.
Why Sales Reps Feel Insecure
It’s easy to feel unconfident when you’ve only made a handful of sales in your career. Being experienced does not make you immune to it either. Veteran salesmen still struggle with confidence from time to time, especially if it’s a deal that could make or break a company’s fortunes.
Uncertainties are inevitable in sales. The faster you can deal with them, the better your closing rates will be.
How do you eliminate uncertainties from impacting your performance?
Successful salesmen have equally successful methodologies to remove as many doubts as possible from their sales.
When you have an effective and repeatable methodology in your arsenal, closing a deal becomes much easier. You know exactly what to do and say when you step in the client’s doorstep or pick up the phone.
Sales becomes less about luck and more on how well you adapt to different scenarios.
What Is a Sales Methodology?
A sales methodology is a framework detailing the strategy for each phase of the sales process.
It makes deal outcomes more predictable in the long run.
Every successful organization has a sales methodology to elevate their performance, whether it’s their own (see The Toyota Way) or one adapted from existing strategies.
Don’t get confused between a sales process and a sales methodology.
A sales process outlines the stages or steps to achieve in making a sale, from prospecting to closing the deal. Think of it as getting directions from Google Maps.
However, it doesn’t explain how to approach each stage—that’s the job of the sales methodology.
A sales methodology explains the “hows” and “whys” for each step of the sales process. It includes best practices and guidelines that salespeople should follow to maximize their chances of success.
The biggest advantage of owning a sales methodology is having a repeatable and scalable way of executing the sales process. This leads to better employee performance, higher sales figures, and more consistent results over time.
12 Powerful Sales Methodologies You Should Know
1. Target Account Selling
Target account selling (TAS) is a popular sales methodology known for its effectiveness in closing high-value B2B deals.
This methodology was developed by The TAS Group (now Altify) and has been a staple in the sales industry since the 80s.
TAS treats each account as a unique market.
Instead of targeting leads from different organizations, TAS focuses on multiple prospects from the same company. For example, a tech startup using TAS may connect with the founder, CTO, and tech leads for an enterprise they’re targeting.
Who Should Use It
TAS aims to achieve multiple prospect buy-ins to increase the chances of closing a deal, making it ideal for large companies and enterprises. It also works well for high-value deals since an expensive product is easier to sell when the CEO and other high-level employees trust your company.
It takes longer to sell to large accounts with TAS.
Deals that take months—sometimes years—to complete are common.
How It Works
The most important step of TAS is to do your account research. You want to find prospects that fit your organization’s solutions and have a high lifetime value.
Consider these factors when researching prospects:
- Does the prospect need my solution?
- Does the prospect show signs of investing in high-value solutions?
- How many stakeholders should I target?
- Who are the stakeholders and what should I know about them?
- How long should the sales cycle be?
Performing research for hundreds of prospects takes a significant amount of time even if you have the resources to do so.
You need to use an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) to speed up prospecting.
An ICP defines the profiles of customers who are most valuable to your company and are likely to buy your solutions. You should also leverage technology (e.g. CRMs, prospecting tools, outreach software) to further accelerate the development of your ICP.
Information is your best friend in this target account selling.
The more you know about your prospects, the easier it is for you to build rapport with stakeholders and make progress in the sales cycle. Any additional information gained during the sales process should be updated in your CRM or ICP if the info is recurring among your prospects.
Go for the close only when you have the support of all the stakeholders you’re targeting.
It’s risky to ask for the sale otherwise since someone influential may turn down your solution, even if everyone else is satisfied with your proposal.
- Very effective for high-value deals.
- TAS builds strong relationships that translate to happier and more lucrative customers in the long run.
- Using TAS for small to medium-sized deals is not efficient as it takes up a lot of resources.
- It requires support from most—if not every—stakeholder to close the sale which can take a considerable amount of effort.
Recommended reading: Go to Market Strategy – Target Account Selling
2. Value Selling
Value selling started in 1991 as a spin-off from Xerox’s sales strategies. Its practices have evolved over the years to adapt to changing business climates.
This methodology is a crowd favorite in the digital world, most notably in the SaaS industry.
Value selling focuses on the customer’s needs over any other criteria.
It aims to benefit the prospect by identifying pain points and solving them through valuable solutions (preferably yours). Sales reps adopt a consultant-based approach in conversations which drives even more value to prospects, thus improving the chances of making a sale.
Who Should Use It
Value selling is best-suited for companies that want loyal customers with high retention rates.
This explains why value selling is popular among SaaS companies since they need to keep their churn rates as low as possible.
How It Works
The goal of value selling is to target your prospect’s feelings. You don’t want them to buy on price.
You want them to understand that your company is the solution to the problems keeping them up at night. You’re trying to demonstrate the maximum value of your products with their deepest wants and needs.
Like other sales methodologies, you need to know your prospects like the back of your hand to make value selling work.
You should be able to answer these questions within seconds:
- What are my prospect’s pain points?
- What are my prospect’s current solutions?
- Is the current solution good enough for the prospect?
- How can my product alleviate my prospect’s needs?
- Can my product provide enough value to the prospect?
In value selling, you need to understand your product as much as your customers.
How exactly is your product valuable to prospects?
Imagine you’re selling an accounting tool.
You meet a prospect who complains that her current software does not integrate with local banks. Your product is only valuable to her if it does connect with local banks. Your prospect won’t buy if this is not a feature in your product, no matter how advanced it is.
The more main points you solve, the more valuable your solution will be which of course, leads to more closed deals.
You also want to focus more on educating rather than selling. Your clients should feel like they’re working with an expert when they are talking to you. Share ideas and alternative solutions to help them alleviate their problems even if it doesn’t involve your solution. Let them ask questions and answer them to the best of your ability without expecting them to return the favor.
Don’t forget to keep in touch with clients after making the sale. Post-engagement interactions are just as important to success in value selling.
- You build strong, loyal relationships with clients from value selling.
- Effective for high-value products since the focus is on value rather than price.
- Value selling takes time which is unsuitable for high volume products (e.g. fast-moving consumer goods).
- Cheap products don’t benefit as much from value selling as you don’t earn much from it relative to the effort required.
Recommended reading: Value-Based Selling: 6 Ways to Sell Value Rather Than Price
3. Solution Selling
In the early 80s, Mike Bosworth devised a sales technique known as the ‘solution sale’ based on his experiences at Xerox, a melting pot for many popular sales methodologies today.
The premise of solution selling was simple. Reps would ask probing questions to identify a prospect’s problems. Then, they would pitch their product as a solution, focusing less on features and more on how it can help overcome the prospect’s problems.
Despite its simplicity, solution selling has been wildly successful for many years, with top companies such as Mastercard still practicing the methodology today. Some argue that solution selling is outdated and while it’s true, you can make it work in today’s business landscape.
After all, people are still looking for solutions to their problems, be it personal or business-wise.
Who Should Use It
Solution selling works in any business or industry. This technique is a good starting point if you’re new to sales or if it’s your first time implementing a sales methodology in your organization.
How It Works
Solution selling starts with shifting your attention to how your products are solving your customers’ problems. If you own an agency, your solution could be something like providing affordable services for local small businesses struggling to learn the ropes of digital marketing.
Like value selling, you need to know your product well to make this methodology work.
Next, identify your prospects’ pain points. You should already know a few based on your past experiences.
Your sales conversations should also be centered around identifying your prospects’ problems. Qualifying and open-ended questions are recommended but be careful not to interrogate your leads.
The next step after identifying the pain points is to educate the prospect on why they need your solution. You want them to understand that buying your product is the best decision to make to overcome their problems.
The following points should be covered at this stage:
- How does your solution solve the prospect’s pain points?
- How does the solution benefit the prospect’s organization?
- Why is your solution valuable to the prospect?
- How does the solution impact your prospect’s bottom line?
Be careful not to talk too much about your product. Remember, you’re trying to sell a solution.
Blabbering about your product and ignoring the pain points will only discourage the prospect. It also helps to develop questions beforehand and practice them before you meet clients.
- Solution selling caters to the buyer which builds trust and rapport.
- It can be used in every niche to great success if done correctly.
- Solution selling is rather outdated and can be ineffective if you don’t tweak it to work with current business trends.
- Prospects may feel like they’re being interrogated if sales reps don’t use the right tone when asking questions.
Recommended reading: Solution Selling: The Ultimate Guide
4. Conceptual Selling
Conceptual selling was first introduced in 1987 in ‘The New Conceptual Selling’, a popular sales book produced by the renowned Miller Heiman Group. Conceptual selling is arguably the first methodology to prioritize performance metrics to make sales measurable.
This technique does not condone traditional sales pitches.
Instead, it encourages sales reps to understand their prospects better by analyzing their decision-making process. This meant more listening and less selling which was the norm for sales methodologies in the past.
Who Should Use It
Do you need customers to understand how your product works before you can sell?
If yes, then conceptual selling is a good choice. It also works well for products that are new in the market or require some knowledge (e.g. technical requirements) to operate.
How It Works
Conceptual selling is all about understanding how your prospects make decisions. You want to understand how certain factors drive them to make purchases.
You can only do this if you view the sales cycle from your prospect’s perspective. One way to do so is by asking relevant questions to dig information out of your prospect which can be leveraged later to encourage commitment.
In the book, the authors listed five questions that sales reps should ask to benefit from conceptual selling. These are:
- Confirmation questions to verify your understanding of the prospect’s thought process.
- New information questions to help prospects understand your product and identify their goals.
- Attitude questions to understand your prospect’s behavior and personality.
- Commitment questions to check whether your prospect is willing to invest in your solution.
- Basic issue questions to identify problems your prospect is facing in their business.
Conceptual selling also advocates a win-win outcome for both the sales rep and the prospect. You should not undermine the prospect’s needs to fulfill your quota or vice versa. This builds strong relationships with customers since there is an incentive for both parties to ‘win’.
- You build healthy bonds with customers due to the level of trust and transparency ingrained in conceptual selling.
- Performance metrics ensure measurable, repeatable outcomes when working on deals.
- It may not work as well for industries where prospects are already well-informed about the solutions they need.
- Asking inaccurate questions may lead to gathering incorrect information which harms success.
Recommended reading: The New Conceptual Selling
5. Inbound Selling
Inbound selling is perhaps the most popular sales methodology at the moment. You may even be using it now without realizing.
Modern consumers have instant access to any information thanks to Google and the rise of social media. Gone are the days when prospects had to wait for salesmen to pitch their products and services.
A good chunk of buyers today make decisions without consulting a single sales rep.
Inbound selling takes advantage of this paradigm shift by creating content that raises awareness and stimulates engagement with consumers. Blog posts, eBooks, whitepapers, videos—these are all examples of effective inbound marketing that drive sales in the Internet era.
Who Should Use It
Everyone should be doing inbound selling. The only exception is if the Internet dies… which won’t happen.
How It Works
Start by analyzing your target audience’s interests. What do they want to read and learn about? If you own a social media agency, publishing content revolving around Instagram hacks is a good idea as it fits your prospects’ interests.
Here are some research ideas to try if you need more clarity:
- Check out competitor websites and digital profiles.
- Read popular blogs or publications in your industry.
- Analyze social media to discover hot topics and trends.
- Ask your current customers through email blasts or surveys.
- Use technology (e.g. keyword tools) to assist you with inbound selling.
Identify where your inbound content should be in the buying cycle.
A whitepaper is going to be more effective if you promote it to prospects in the consideration stage compared to someone who knows next to nothing about your company.
Matching your content to each stage of the buying cycle will not only increase engagement, but it will also smoothen the sales process.
You still need to do outbound sales especially if your product is expensive. You’ll also need to schedule a call or meeting when the prospect reaches the intent stage to progress in the buying cycle.
That said, you might find it easier to close sales with inbound methodology since your prospect is already engaged with your company. This cuts down the length of sales cycles by a significant margin while reducing sales reps workloads in the initial stages of the buyer’s journey.
- Inbound selling is cost-effective as you only need to publish content once.
- Deals are closed at a higher rate since inbound leads trust your brand more compared to cold prospects.
- You may publish irrelevant content, rendering inbound selling ineffective.
- Good inbound selling strategies take a decent amount of effort which can limit your sales performance if your company lacks resources.
Recommended reading: What Is Inbound Sales?
6. Consultative Selling
Consultative selling is the most relationship-focused methodology of all in this guide. This technique emphasizes creating a tight bond between the sales rep and the prospect.
Value is delivered first, with the product often taking the back seat in engagements.
The term ‘consultative selling’ was first seen in Mack Hanan’s book back in the 70s but the methodology itself has been around for a long time. It is still a popular technique today among businesses that value healthy, long-term relationships with their clients.
Who Should Use It
Consultative selling is best-suited for organizations with high customer lifetime values such as SaaS companies or healthcare firms. You build strong connections with this methodology which will do wonders for customer happiness and retention rates.
How It Works
Your product is not the focal point of consultative selling.
You can have a subpar product (though it’s not recommended) and still make the sale if you can gain your prospect’s trust. The key is to be helpful and provide value whenever possible. You’ll act almost like a consultant to resolve your prospect’s problems, hence the name.
The consultative selling journey starts with asking the right questions. You want to know what’s bothering them when they come into work every day.
It’s important to balance between asking questions and offering insights at this stage. You want to understand your prospect while also letting the person know why your solution is a good fit for the company.
Again, stay away from overly-interrogative questions.
Demonstrate expertise to your prospect. You will gain serious respect and approval if you can relate to the things they deal with at work. A good habit is to brush up on your industry knowledge before you meet or call a prospect.
Listen more than you talk when you’re practicing consultative sales. It’s OK to let the prospect talk and steer the conversation. You might even unearth opportunities that you’d have missed if you were the one leading. Take note of your prospect’s feedback and leverage it when pitching your solution.
This way, your prospect will feel like your product is tailor-made for their specific needs which helps significantly with closing deals.
- You can close lucrative deals with high-value clients if you do it right.
- Consultative selling works for all industries since it prioritizes people over product.
- A failed engagement can be damaging as consultative selling has a long sales cycle.
- Sales reps need to have strong product and industry knowledge to succeed at consultative selling.
Recommended reading: Consultative Selling: Definition, Techniques, and Examples
7. SPIN Selling
SPIN Selling is one of the most popular techniques in the sales industry.
Its success can be attributed to the fact that all of the strategies listed in the book are backed by research.
The author, Neil Rackham, analyzed over 35,000 sales calls to understand why customers buy—way before computers were a thing.
The techniques advocated in this methodology still work to this day despite being published more than 30 years ago. SPIN Selling applies a modern twist to consultative selling by focusing on specific open-ended questions to source information and convince prospects.
Who Should Use It
SPIN Selling works best for medium to large deals.
The book’s premise itself states that high-value sales are the focus area of the methodology. You should consider SPIN if you’re pitching five to seven-figure deals like custom software, for instance.
How It Works
SPIN is an acronym for the four situations a sales rep needs to prepare his or her questions for.
Start by analyzing the situation at hand.
What do you need to know about the prospect? Valuable information like company details, the prospect’s background, and their currently-used solutions put you in the feet of the customer to help you execute the SPIN sale.
Next, figure out the problems they’re facing.
Acquiring this information is as easy as asking the prospect what’s wrong. Assess your prospect’s answers to identify implied needs and pain points. Do not use leading questions unless you’re certain the prospect is really facing the problem. Stick with open-ended questions until then and use the prospect’s feedback to guide the conversation.
The implied needs stage is where leading questions play a starring role.
You want your prospect to know the consequences of their problems. For businesses, this usually means lost revenue or wasted resources. Asking relevant leading questions reframes the problem in your prospect’s mind which creates urgency if they feel it’s a huge concern.
Here’s a great resource to explore if you want to learn how to ask effective implied needs questions.
The final step is to ask need-payoff questions.
Your questions should get the prospect to explain the benefits of your solution, reversing the traditional buyer-seller dynamics in sales. If you’re selling automation software, a good need-payoff question would be something like:
“What can you do with the time saved from automating this task?”
If you do SPIN Selling right, your prospects will sell your solution to themselves when they realize the severity of their problems.
- SPIN Selling closes sales quickly if prospects are able to understand how their problems are affecting the business.
- It works well for high-value deals since prospects feel your solution is worth the price.
- Asking the right questions takes a considerable amount of practice and experience.
- Prospects may be aware that you’re using SPIN selling which limits its effectiveness.
Recommended reading: What is Spin Selling
8. MEDDIC Sales Methodology
MEDDIC is popular among companies that prefer shorter sales cycles. This methodology focuses on improving customer qualification to reduce the amount of time spent on prospecting.
The creators of MEDDIC, Richard Dunkel and Jack Napoli, used this technique to make PTC a billion-dollar company in less than four years. That alone is a testament to MEDDIC’s effectiveness in closing medium to large deals.
Who Should Use It
Despite its popularity among enterprises, MEDDIC is a great technique to deploy even in small businesses. Companies of any size will appreciate the resources saved from spending less time qualifying prospects.
How It Works
MEDDIC is made up of six qualifiers as shown in the table below.
The first step is to identify the metrics that matter to your customers. This allows you to measure the benefits of your solution which makes it clear for prospects to envision their return on investment. For example, your new industrial software will allow factories to optimize workflow and push out 30% more output and reduce costs by 20%. That’s a lot clearer compared to a vague statement like, “you can produce more for less”.
The economic buyer is the person responsible for approving purchases in the company. You want to focus your efforts on convincing the decision-maker. Do your research to ensure you’re targeting the right person or people as some companies have multiple decision-makers.
The decision criteria tell you the factors that prospects consider when buying. Budget, ROI, and ease of use are common examples of these factors in businesses.
The decision process, meanwhile, determines how prospects make a decision. Every company has its process when it comes to approving purchases. You can tweak your strategy to convince and persuade prospects if you know your position in the decision process.
Next, tie in your solution’s metrics to your prospect’s pain points. If your prospect is losing $50,000 a month to missed orders, tell them how your solution can speed up production to keep up with peak demand. The more relevant your solution is to their pain points, the higher the chances of you making the sale especially if it eliminates the problem.
Build a bond with a champion in your target organization. Getting someone influential in the company to endorse your solution will edge you closer to success. It doesn’t have to be the founder or CEO. Gaining support from a well-respected employee is more than enough to close the sale. Identify the champion early in the sales process to save even more time.
- MEDDIC saves a lot of time and money since you only connect with qualified prospects.
- You can filter opportunities to pursue only valuable deals that increase your bottom line.
- You may have limited prospects if you operate in a small niche.
- You could miss leads who don’t fit your qualifiers but are interested in your solution.
Recommended reading: Hit Your Sales Target Using MEDDIC Sales Methodology
9. NEAT Selling
NEAT Selling takes inspiration from MEDDIC and SPIN Selling to create a methodology that dials in on the prospect’s needs. NEAT is relatively new but it’s picking up steam among startups and small businesses to empower their sales processes.
Its acronym stands for:
- Access to authority
Some companies also use NEAT to qualify leads since its strategies can separate valuable leads from ones who are less likely to buy your product. NEAT Selling is flexible in the sense that it works great regardless of your skill level.
Who Should Use It
You can use NEAT Selling to close small to medium-sized deals with impressive conversion rates. The steps are straightforward which makes it a good fit for organizations implementing a sales methodology for the first time.
How It Works
The first phase of NEAT is to identify your prospect’s needs. You want to uncover the deepest, most frustrating issues they’re desperate to get rid of. You can make assumptions based on previous experiences but it’s best to get information straight from the source by asking your prospect questions like:
- “Are you having problems with X?”
- “What keeps the business from achieving this goal?”
- “What are your short and long-term objectives?”
Consider the impact of your prospect’s needs on the organization. Are they losing money? If yes, your solution should help them recover the lost revenue to get their finances back on track. The financial benefit of your product should be obvious to the prospect when they factor in the economic impact of their pain points.
NEAT Selling also prioritizes targeting individuals with authority. You want to build rapport with stakeholders responsible for approving purchases. You can identify the right individual(s) to contact by researching your prospect’s organizational structure beforehand.
The last step is to establish a timeline. Sales cycles—especially in B2B—can take too long to complete. You’re not only wasting your time, but you’re also losing out on potential clients while waiting for something to happen. Set a date for you to finalize the sale. If you meet the deadline, pat yourself on the back. If not, drop the deal and pursue other opportunities so you spend less time waiting, more on selling.
- NEAT Selling is great for starters due to its straightforward practices.
- You can qualify leads quickly which reduces the length of your sales cycles.
- NEAT Selling can feel limited for high-value sales or if you’re dealing with experienced prospects.
- It is difficult to establish a reasonable deadline to close deals if you’re new to sales.
Recommended reading: The Evolution of Sales: Welcome to N.E.A.T Selling
10. SNAP Selling
Jill Konrath published the widely-used SNAP Selling methodology in her book back in 2010. She felt that traditional sales techniques were too slow for the digital world where customers had unlimited access to information.
SNAP Selling addresses this issue by encouraging sales reps to make it as easy as possible for prospects to make decisions. The faster they can get to the root of the problem, the more likely it is for the prospect to buy-in.
Who Should Use It
This technique is fantastic for fast-moving industries where trends change on a whim. You can also use it to sell to busy prospects. Think of your CEOs, founders, and investors.
How It Works
SNAP Selling starts by first understanding your buyers. You need to know what matters the most to them when pitching your product. Your solution has to match their needs and offer more value than what they expect to stay ahead of competitors.
Keep it simple when you’re SNAP selling. Your prospects don’t have time to research and understand your product. Remove unnecessary steps from your sales process when engaging with clients. This makes it easy for prospects to make decisions which increases the chances of closing the deal.
Make sure your solution is invaluable. Your prospect receives hundreds of different products and services and every day. What makes you stand out? You must highlight the value of your solution to the organization whether that is saving money or making more of it.
Keep your conversations aligned with the prospect’s needs. Don’t talk about topics irrelevant to the sale. Small talk is fine but your goal is to link your solution with the prospect’s pain points. Besides, they will appreciate you not wasting their time by being straight to the point.
You also want to create urgency, raise priorities and potential problems. For example, your prospect could be losing half a million a year to a faulty CRM. Highlight the issue and explain how your solution is key in solving the problem. Like the previous point, keep your statements concise to ease the decision-making process.
- It is great if you want to move and close deals fast even in high-value verticals.
- SNAP Selling cuts out many non-essential steps so you won’t feel like sales is a chore.
- You may move too fast for some prospects who need time to think.
- Clients may not build too much of a relationship with sales reps.
Recommended reading: A Summary of SNAP Selling
11. The Challenger Sale
Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson’s magnum opus, The Challenger Sale, is a scripture in the sales industry. First developed in 2011, The Challenger Sale has been picked up by many leading organizations including Gartner and Microsoft.
The Challenger sales methodology advocates sales reps to be an educator on the field. They should guide the customer throughout the buyer journey and create tailored solutions for their problems—similar to consultative selling albeit with a different mindset.
Who Should Use It
You should use this methodology if you want to build strong, trust-driven bonds with your clients. This is also why it’s so popular in B2B since customers are expected to sign lucrative deals and establish long-term relationships.
How It Works
The book’s authors performed extensive research on various sales reps profiles. They found out that the Challenger profile performs the best in every scenario, particularly in closing large deals and dealing with reduced spending.
Challengers excel because they have unparalleled knowledge of their prospects’ industries. They understand their pain points clearly and can provide valuable insights to help prospects overcome them. This gives them a level of respect and expertise that seeps into the sales process.
Challengers are great educators.
They actively teach prospects about their problems and how to get rid of them. The answer is not always your products. You can (and should) give alternative solutions even if it means mentioning your rivals.
You gain loads of trust from a prospect if you can give them a fresh perspective on their pain points without being biased or manipulative.
Challengers also provide personalized solutions rather than being generic with their approach. Your product should be tailored to the prospect’s needs. If you’re selling insurance and your prospect brings up coverage a lot, shift the conversation to talk about your plan’s coverage and how it satisfies his or her requirements. You want your solution to hit right at your prospect’s emotions to convince them.
Finally, a great sales rep knows when to lead a conversation and steer it to progress the sale. You need to focus the conversation around the benefits of your solution. You already have one foot in the door if you can convince the prospect by zoning in on your solution’s value during engagements.
- Clients trust Challenger reps more due to the confidence and expertise showed in the sales process.
- The authoritative nature of this methodology makes guiding conversations easier, leading to fewer obstacles when selling.
- Some reps may not have the right personality to adopt the Challenger profile, although training can be a solution.
- It takes time for sales reps to master this methodology. Businesses with limited resources may not be able to achieve this if they’re consistently losing money.
Recommended reading: The Challenger Sale Model: How to Lead the Conversation
12. Sandler Selling Method
Sandler selling has been a household name in the industry for more than 50 years and is still popular today.
This methodology prioritizes both the buyer and seller in the sales process. Rather than pure selling, the sales rep should act as an advisor to the prospect to help them overcome various objections. Think of it as an alternative to consultative selling.
Who Should Use It
You should use Sandler Selling if you treasure client relationships. The best thing about this methodology is when it works, your prospects won’t feel like they’re being sold to which is fantastic for client happiness.
How It Works
Sandler Selling approaches sales with a different mindset. The seller should not be the one convincing prospects to buy. Instead, both parties should be equally involved in making the purchase—almost like a group discussion.
If the prospect doesn’t benefit from your solution, stop selling.
Forcing the sale will lead to the prospect dropping the deal later which is a complete waste of your time and effort. Instead, you want to create a situation where the buyer convinces themselves to purchase your solution. This results in higher success rates regardless of your price point.
Sandler Selling emphasizes on forming a tight relationship with your prospect. Building rapport is key here. You want to give valuable advice to guide them throughout the buying cycle. You should show genuine interest in helping prospects overcome their troubles and not just for the sake of your gains.
Take some time to qualify your leads.
As mentioned earlier, you won’t achieve anything significant if your product is a total mismatch of your prospect’s needs. Understand where your solution fits in your target organization.
Does it help them reduce their loss or grow their bottom line?
It also helps to know the stakeholders involved in the decision-making process so you can build rapport with the right people.
Only close the sale if your prospect passes the qualification stage mentioned above. Emphasize the pain points you discovered earlier in your conversations. This, combined with thorough qualifying, will skyrocket your sales success as you’re offering relevant solutions to prospects who truly need them.
- You only spend time on deals with high success rates by qualifying prospects.
- Healthy relationships built with Sandler Selling makes it easier for you to upsell or cross-sell later on.
- You may disqualify high-value prospects who are interested in your product but don’t match your criteria.
- This methodology does not work as well in industries with low customer lifetime values.
Recommended reading: Sandler Selling: The 3 Levels of Pain
Which Sales Methodology Should You Use?
Choosing the best sales methodology depends on what you’re trying to achieve.
- Are you trying to make as many sales as possible within a specific timeline?
- Do you value client relationships?
- Are you selling to enterprises and Fortune 500 companies?
If you’re selling cheap products, go for techniques that allow you to move fast in the sales cycle (e.g. SNAP Selling). If you deal with five to seven-figure products, we recommend using relationship-focused methodologies like the challenger sale or consultative selling.
The Who Should Use It section in each methodology can help you determine whether a technique fits your organization.
Consider the resources you have at the moment. Long-term methodologies take a good chunk of time, money, and manpower to execute which not every company has the luxury of owning.
Solo founders or small teams should go for simpler strategies to minimize resource usage.
Finally, allow time for the methodology to flourish.
You cannot expect your salespeople to learn SPIN Selling in one day and be masters at it. You should allocate at least six months to a year for your employees to get accustomed to a particular technique. Deals will fail along the way but it’s the part of the learning process.
When your team is tuned in to your chosen sales methodology, sit back and watch as your bottom line grows faster than ever before.