What is the Sandler Sales Methodology? Everything You Need to Know About Sandler Selling

Samir Sampat

Sales methods and tactics have been around as long as products have been available to sell. Although we may recall historical accounts of bartering before the cash system was created, the goal has been the same: convince someone that they need whatever product or service you’re offering. To do that, many businesses and professionals have spent decades creating and employing the use of several different business methodologies. The Sandler Sales Methodology is one of them. 

Also known as the Sandler Selling System, this program has been around for well over 50 years, and it emphasizes the qualification process over the closing, which is what makes it stand out from the rest. Not only that but research shows:

50% more salespeople hit their quotas with Sandler than without


88% of those surveyed said their own sales strategy improved after Sandler training

So, what is this system and what can it do for your business? Let’s find out. 

The Sandler System explained 

Created in 1976, the Sandler Selling System was the brainchild of David Sandler. The focus is to have reps act as consultants rather than hard salespeople. It focuses on the questions asked during the qualifying process and using those to create sales, rather than pushing products on those who don’t need them. 

This system works because it prioritizes the creation of trusting relationships over sales. During the interaction and customer journey, the sales exec will act as an advisor who is responsible for assessing the obstacles of the consumer and finding the pain points so that they can lead to the solution. Throughout seven steps, sales reps will build relationships, qualify clients, and close the sale. 

Step one: Bonding and building rapport 

This is the step where you will create a bond with prospects. In most cases, they’ve already started to establish that bond for you by showing up and inquiring about your products or services. Open and honest communication is essential here and throughout the process. 

Step two: Establish roles, rules, and expectations

Now, you want to set the expectations and establish the roles of everyone involved. You need to make sure that everyone knows the guidelines and expectations so that they can move forward in the process with ease. 

Step three: Address pain points 

This will help you figure out where customers are experiencing issues and how your product or service can alleviate those concerns. It can be a difficult stage to teach because it focuses more on creative problem-solving than selling, but it’s one that’s worthwhile because it will help you get better results. 

Some reps struggle because the first-stage questions are easy, but the second and third-level questions can be “uncomfortable” to ask in some cases. However, this is a process that your team needs to master if they are going to maximize sales with the Sandler Selling System. 

Step four: Budgeting 

While most sales methods don’t talk money until the end, Sandler’s system relies on discussing budget in the qualification phase. After all, if someone can’t afford a product or service, there’s no point in finishing out the sales process. Your team will use this step to determine if leads are capable of investing the money (and time) required to resolve their issues. 

Step five: Decision-making 

Now, you will need to discuss the decisions that are to be made. Find out how the prospect wants the experience to proceed, as well as the who, what, where, and why of the matter. 

Step six: Fulfillment 

This step focuses on actually fulfilling the product or service transaction by offering whatever you sell as a solution to people’s problems. Sales execs can use all the information gleaned throughout the qualification process to create an effective proposal and get customers on board. 

Step seven: Follow up and support

This is the post-sale, or when you seal the deal. Make sure that you establish what comes after the sale and encourage customer retention as a part of the initial transaction for better repeat business. 

How to get trained in the Sandler Method

There are several different tools and resources out there that can help you train your team in the Sandler Sales Methodology, including online courses. This allows people to learn in a flexible, convenient environment so that they don’t have to stop everything to go to some training program. There are also on-site training courses and programs available for those who want a more hands-on approach, but that’s not necessarily required. 

Those who are most successful with this method will be those who integrate the Sandler Selling System as a part of their sales process and embrace it wholly. You can tweak the steps or shorten the process, but you need to keep those elements discussed above in place if you are going to use the Sandler Selling System as it is intended. 

But is this the right sales methodology for your team? That’s a choice that only you can make. Take the time to learn more about it, check out examples of the Sandler Selling System in action, and get as much information as you can to make the right decision for your sales team. And remember, if you do go this route, make sure that you choose the best resources to train your team to succeed in this method, as well. 

While you’re selling, are you taking care of leads?

Implementing a new sales methodology could mean an influx of leads that you may not be prepared for. However, you can enlist the assistance of the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai to offer a 24/7 answering service, along with support for your outreach campaigns, so that you’re not handling lead generation and intake all on your own. Plus, with 24/7 answering, you’ll never miss another opportunity. 

We can even help with appointment scheduling and live website chat, making sure that your communications and admin tasks are handled so that you can focus on the sales process. To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to hello@smith.ai

Samir Sampat

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

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