The Sandler Submarine is a powerful sales tool, but like any other vehicle, it needs fuel to keep it going. The Sandler system uses many techniques to help uncover a prospect’s pain, revving up the sales engine and eventually closing more deals. One of these techniques is very simple but also very powerful, and we call it Reversing.
Reversing is a questioning strategy designed to encourage your prospect to reveal and even relive their pain. It may also help you disqualify prospects who don’t have any pain at the current time, so you don’t waste any more time pursuing a prospect that doesn’t need your services. Reversing is quite simply, answering questions with more questions. It typically takes 3 or more reverses before the prospect will share their pain with you.
Let’s take a look at reversing in a selling situation, so you get a better idea of how it works. Jim is a contractor, looking to sell roofing products and services to homeowner, Jasmine Washington. Jasmine asks Jim, “Can you tell me a little bit about the roofing products you would recommend for my house?” Most contracting salespeople would jump right into this opportunity to present all the great roofing tiles, colors and products they offer. But not Jim. Jim’s had Sandler training. The Sandler approach is different, and though it may make you more uncomfortable at first, it will boost your sales results dramatically. Jim responds with a reversing question, “That’s a very good question Jasmine. We offer a wide variety of great products and would take me a few hours to go over all of them. Can you be a little bit more specific as to what you might be looking for?” Jasmine answers, “Well, we’ve had the house re-roofed three times over the past 25 years, and every single time the roof didn’t last as long as they said it would.”
Many salespeople would be tempted to explain why their company will be different. However, in the Sandler system we don’t go this route. Instead, ask more reversing questions. “Wow, I am sorry that happened to you. Would you be kind enough to tell me more about that?” Jim asks several more reversing questions and Jasmine shares a story based on her personal experience with other roofing companies. Her story involves water leaking into her kitchen and damaging several appliances. Jasmine had to file insurance claims which she said were a “big hassle”. Probing for personal pain, Jim asks, “How did that impact you?” Jasmine explains, “We had offered to host Thanksgiving, but the leak ruined the stove and the fridge just days before the holiday. So it was very annoying situation. I would have been so embarrassed if we didn’t get it fixed”.
In this scenario, Jim used several reverses to get Jasmine to reveal her pain with prior roofing issues she had experienced. You may have to ask 3 or more reversing questions to get your prospect to reveal their pain. We were often taught as children not to answer questions with questions, however, in the Sandler System we do this quite frequently. It may not be easy at first, and you may be uncomfortable with this tactic, but it will pay dividends as you get better at it. You may have lingering fear from your childhood when adults scolded you for asking too many questions, however, if you learn the proper techniques we teach in the Sandler System, you will rarely get a negative reaction. In fact, the prospect will be more likely to feel you care about them and aren’t looking to just sell them your products or services. In my next blog, I will share some specific techniques to use so that you never upset your prospect with reversing questions.