How to Use the Sandler System to Improve Sales Team Performance

Samir Sampat

The Sandler Selling System is one of the oldest sales methodologies, and yet it remains one of the most popular for several businesses. This program originated over 50 years ago and its emphasis is on the qualification process, not just the close. The Sandler System, as it is sometimes called, also produces better results than many other systems out there. In this guide, we’ll discuss this sales methodology further and help you understand how you can use it to improve team performance. 

What is the Sandler Selling System?

David Sandler created the Sandler Selling System in 1976. He saw a need for a better system that prioritized building trust and relationships over making sales. It turns your sales team into a consultancy team and allows them to identify pain points and establish those trusting relationships so that the sales come naturally. This is a seven-step process that includes:

  • Bonding and building rapport
  • Establishing roles, expectations, and rules
  • Addressing pain points
  • Budgeting 
  • Decision-making
  • Fulfillment
  • Following up and support 

It’s not hard to find information and resources on the Sandler Selling System, including those that are free and can help you upskill your team. You can find online courses, on-site training and programs, and even just resources that talk more about this methodology and why it’s an effective choice for your business. 

Tips for success with the Sandler Selling System 

The first step in this method is the most important: bonding and building rapport. Today’s customers aren’t just buying products and services. They’re buying based on relationships and connections. You could have the perfect product or service, but if you’re not presenting it the right way, no one will care. Building rapport means establishing trust and creating bonds. 

You should teach your reps to put the script down and spend the first few minutes of their interactions bonding with their prospects. Have a conversation. Most importantly, your team will need to become skilled at active listening—too often, sales reps only listen to respond or pitch. That’s not effective, however, because it discounts the needs of the lead or customer. 

You may be wondering how you can teach empathy and active listening. The short answer is that you can’t, really, but you can encourage it and lead by example. If you have someone on your team that excels at these elements, have them show the rest of the team what they’re doing. These two assets can go a lot further than you might think in helping you close the deal. 

Active listening will also reveal answers to things like customer pain points and concerns. The “pain points” stage can be difficult to train people on because it’s a more creative process than one with exact steps. The second and third-level questions often get uncomfortable, which can make it a challenge for some reps. 

When your team engages in active listening, it can lead to insights about budget and other needs, taking you into the next steps of this process. Speaking of budgets, let’s take a quick look at this unique part of the Sandler Selling System. 


Speaking of which, a lot of sales methodologies don’t address money and budgets until the end. They don’t consider this part of the qualification process, and that could very well be what’s keeping them from succeeding in the best ways. Sandler believed that if someone cannot afford a product or service, there’s no point in putting the effort into the rest of the sales process—save yourself and the leads the time by determining if leads are financially ready for the next step. 

Why the Sandler System works 

The Sandler Selling System is a unique approach. Even though it has been modified and used for inspiration for other methodologies for years, it remains strong in its tenets and gets results for teams that may otherwise struggle to find success. The focus on trust and relationship building allows you to make sure that you have a good connection with your leads. 

And that connection is what today’s buyers are looking for. The Sandler Selling System looks similar to many, but the focus on qualification and relationship building, instead of saving that for after qualification, is what helps set this system apart. And it might be among the first of its kind, but it’s only the first of many sales methods and strategies that take a customer-centric approach. 

There are three main stages to the sales system, which encompass those seven steps listed above. The stages are: 

  • Relationship building
  • Qualification
  • Closing 

This method requires that your reps embrace the psychology of sales and communication, understanding how people really communicate to get the products and services that they need. When you start an engagement with a lead and go immediately to bonding, your prospects will be pleasantly surprised and much more likely to convert. 

The system works because it does what customers want: 

  • It addresses their pain points and needs.
  • It gives them someone who will listen to their problems. 
  • It focuses on relationship-building instead of sales.
  • It sets expectations up-front and provides a comfortable environment for all. 

Is this the system for your team? You’ll have to try it out and see. 

When the leads start coming, are you ready?

Implementing a new sales methodology is a great way to boost business. However, that also means that you have to be ready to field those calls and leads. If you’re busy with prospects and customers, how can you do it all? Partner with the virtual receptionists at for a 24/7 answering service so that you never miss an opportunity. 

Plus, when you work with us, we can also assist with things like lead intake, appointment scheduling, and even support for your outreach campaigns in the first place. Plus, it all comes with a custom strategy to manage everything in one place. To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to

Samir Sampat

Samir Sampat is a Marketing and Events Associate with He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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