The full title of this book by Greg Nanigian is
“Why People Buy: The Real Reason Features and Benefits Selling Doesn’t Work“.
It is a detailed look at the Sandler Selling System’s pain step.
In my review at Amazon.co.uk, I gave it a FOUR star rating, meaning I consider it to be good to very good.
Here is what I posted.
More details of the Sandler Pain Step
I find the Sandler Selling System appealing in many ways although I’ve seen it used to bail out of potential relationships too early and recognise that it can be used to manipulate buyers or to give the appearance they are being manipulated.
This book provides a detailed look at the pain step, used to uncover emotionally powerful reasons for the buyer to buy. It also explains where pain lies in the “Sandler Submarine” so that you have a brief understanding of the entire system.
To some extent, the book sets up a “straw man” for traditional selling where you’d rush in and make a lengthy presentation before qualifying the prospect and before investigating the problems and what they mean. This sets up an extreme contrast between effective and ineffective approaches but I can’t think of any sales system I’ve read about or listened to that is so naive.
The book provides some very useful guidance on how to vary the rapport building stage based on the displayed personality traits of the buyer based on the four main categories within DISC profiling. I can’t help but feel there’s a specialist book opportunity on using DISC for sales which goes deeper into the grey areas between the four main categories.
It also provides a summary of transactional analysis as a guide for how you should act.
The book then goes on to explain how you can ask questions to discover pain. This includes moving from general to specific details and a Sandler technique called reversing. This is answering a question by asking another to gain a deeper understanding. It may sound unnatural and unhelpful initially but you’ll come to see it as an important part of coming of as a caring salesperson wanting to be clear on the problem before jumping in to recommend a specific solution.
Negative reverse selling is an interesting idea. It’s based on the idea that you want to get the customer to start changing opinion, towards buying or controversially, away from buying. That’s because once the customer is moving, it’s easier to move in your direction. This tactic intentionally pushes the customer away.
There a some other areas covered in the book but my review is already getting too long and I want to cover a few concerns that explain why it gets a four rather than five star rating.
First, the Sandler Sales System is best viewed in its entirety before you start delving deeper into particular areas. I recommend you read the original book by David Sandler, “You Can’t Teach A Kid To Ride A Bike At A Seminar“. It’s a strange title for an excellent book.
Second, I believe you have to be careful when you’re questioning to find pain and therefore put the prospect in an emotional state. You don’t want it to become too painful and embarrassing or the customer will become very defensive. There are some things people are reluctant to talk about with their best friend, closest family member or doctor. I could do with losing a couple of stone in weight and my hair is thinning faster than I’d like. I’m sensitive and you may have parts of your life that you wouldn’t want to explore too deeper, even with a very nurturing stranger. The book doesn’t cover this issue or explain when there is enough pain.
Third, NLP suggest that many people are motivated mainly by moving away from pain but some people are motivated more by moving towards pleasure and some kind of gain. Some products reward positive selling more than moving away from the negative.
Overall I believe the Sandler system has a lot to offer people with its counter intuitive approach.
Paul Simister is a business coach who helps business owners who are stuck, get unstuck. If your business is based in the UK, you can have a free Business SOS consultation with me.