Sandlers selling rules explained

In my previous post I wrote about how I will be reading and commenting on ‘you can’t teach a kid to ride a bike at a seminar’ by David H. Sandler. In this post I will be taking the first key principles from the book and explaining what they mean to me.

The rules were:

  1. Qualify your prospects
  2. Extract your prospects “pain”
  3. Verify the prospect has money
  4. Be sure your prospect is a decision maker
  5. Match your service or product to the prospect’s “pain”


1. Qualify your prospects.

Working here at Nett Sales this was possibly the easiest to comprehend of the 5 rules, as this is what we do as a business, using the ‘Nett Sales process’ qualifying a lead is:

  1. Sending a short, targeted email to a group of contacts
  2. monitoring the response levels on the email – who clicked on what, where did they go next and for how long…
  3. Qualifying the contacts into different ‘pots’ in accordance with their actions e.g. unsubscribes, clicks on link 1, clicks on link 2 etc
  4. Then repeating steps 1 to 3, qualifying out as many people as possible until only the ‘hot leads’ are left.

To us, a no is as good as a yes, and considerably better than a maybe!

Steps 2-5 are all encompassed in the ‘follow up’ phase of the Nett Sales process. This involves what we like to call a customer service calls to the most responsive potential clients.

2. Extract your prospects pain

Once you’ve qualified out all the bad data and contacts who aren’t interested it’s time to get personal with the potential leads. We follow up the emails with a customer service call, which simply involves calling the most responsive contacts and saying “hi Alan, i sent you an email a few days ago on behalf of ***** and i was wondering what you thought, could you offer me any feedback?” Thereby letting the customer lead the call, and if they do choose to interact with us, then because they initiated what they perceived to be the most pressing issue, we know the subject that’s most critical to them.

3.  Verify the prospect has money

We tend to talk budgets fair early, for example a customer may say “i spent 2 years with xyz charging me an absolute fortune and didn’t get a single sale from it” at which point we can inquire as to how much a fortune is, and what sort of money they would be looking to invest in gaining more sales.

4. Be sure your prospect is a decision maker

This tends not to be such an issue for us, as the data we use when mailing potential clients is telephone cleansed in order to determine that we are contacting the right person within the business.

5. Match your service or product to the prospect’s “pain”

As discussed in point 2 we let the customer lead the conversation so we can discover exactly what it is they want, and as almost everybody wants more sales all we have to do is package the service in a way that’s attractive to this individual client. For example, one client had spent thousands on producing brochures to send to names collected at a trade fair they were attending.

We suggested instead of using expensive printed brochures they collected a name, email address and phone number, then a few days after the show we send an email in their name saying “hi, saw you at the show, what did you think of our offerings? If you’re interested then look here for a pdf of our brochure/website”

Understandably their response was, “won’t people just think it’s spam…?”

“How many brochures/leaflets do you get through the door every day?”

If someone is interested in your offering, they will read it no matter what the medium, and obviously you won’t know if someone has read your brochure, if it’s printed, but a digital copy is a whole other matter…


Check back soon for the latest installment of the Sandler sales process!