To my mind, one of the best books on selling ever written – bar none – is “You Can’t Teach A Kid To Ride A Bike At A Seminar” by David Sandler.
David Sandler was a straight-talking, zero-fluff old-school salesman, who cut his teeth pounding pavements and picking up the dog-and-bone.
The Sandler System (first lesson from this email: name your intellectual property, it makes it irreplaceable) first came to my attention about four years ago.
I was sitting in a bar in Soho, London, shooting the Friday afternoon breeze with a couple of friends. We were all relatively new business owners.
One of them had just started working with a sales coach.
“Pah!” I scoffed. After all, who needs a sales coach?
But when told me that he was paying this guy $5k a month for twice-monthly group training, I started to listen.
If this guy is worth $5k a month, I reasoned, he must be DAMN good.
(Lesson nr. 2: prestige pricing can make your offer VERY attractive.)
A week or two later – after failing to talk myself out of it – I ended up calling this sales coach to see how he could help me. His website told me nothing at all. It was a short single-column squeeze page.
And thus began a lesson in sales I won’t forget in a hurry.
Firstly, he spoke to me on the phone – no charge – for at least an hour. (Lesson 3: time commits.) He asked me lots and lots of questions. In fact, he asked me so many questions I had the impression that he was working off a script.
But they were questions about me. He didn’t mention his prices until the very end. He certainly didn’t talk about the “content” of his training sessions, or their format, or any features or benefits.
Just question after question after question.
He then asked me if I’d be happy to complete a questionnaire and one of those psychological profiling tests before we talked more about my needs. I agreed.
(Lesson 4: always get an upfront contract from your prospects. If this, then that, right? If I do this for you, do you agree to have a sales conversation with me? If I can get it in blue, will you take three copies?)
I remember telling him, when we spoke again, that I felt like I’d been profiled by the Scientologists. The questionnaire took about an hour to complete.
(Lesson 5: a series of small, incremental commitments goes a long way to getting the ultimate commitment from your prospects.)
He laid out how he could help me, but told me not to make a decison there and then. He invited me to have lunch with him in London – on him – so that I’d have enough time to think about any questions and be REALLY sure that I wanted to hire him.
(Lesson 6 and 7: work with people who WANT to work with you. Get them to qualify themselves. Also: buy them lunch. It’s a very cheap way of acquiring customers.)
I was frothing at the mouth right now – desperate to work with him – but he wouldn’t let me do it there and then.
(Lesson 8: reversals and take-aways are the most powerful closing techniques in the salesman’s arsenal. If you can get your prospect to BEG you to buy from you, you’ll have a very long-term customer.)
As it turned out, because I was living in Belgium and the Sandler organization runs a franchise, I couldn’t work with him unless I went to London twice a month.
Which my pregnant wife wasn’t happy about.
(Lesson 9: involve all decision-makers.)
And so I saved myself $5k a month, lost out on a great opportunity, and bought ten copies of the book instead.
My More Clients Mastermind – opening its doors soon – doesn’t cost $5k a month. Nowhere near.
But it’s sales training and accountability at the highest level.