My message for sales professionals is simple: You’re a consultant, so behave like one. That means asking the right questions… then asking more questions … and even more questions …. until you fully understand what the buyer needs to be able to close the gap between where they are and where they want to be.
When prospects ask you a question (or use wishy-washy words, or try to mislead you, or use smokescreen tactics), wouldn’t it be nice if you knew for sure what their true intention was? David Sandler developed a tool to help the salesperson accomplish exactly this. It’s called reversing.
The FBI distinguish between two different types of situations requiring two different questioning strategies: the interview and the interrogation. The FBI calls the interview, “a conversation with purpose.” On the other hand, an interrogation is defined as “eliciting a confession against self-interest.” Many salespeople approach a sales interview like they would an interrogation—and this is their first mistake.
Students of the Sandler methodology quickly learn that selling is not about lists of compelling features and benefits; it’s not about clever closes or flashy literature and expensive marketing collateral. It’s not about hogging all the airtime in the meeting, nor is it about forcing our own agenda into the buying process. It’s not about jazzy presentations or brow-beating the other guy into submission.