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E61 | Sandler Training and Making Channel Sales Work with David Davies

If you’re wondering if your business could have a channel as a route to market, then you’ve come to the right place. 

Are you wondering if you could have 1, 10, even 100 sales people selling your product or service? Then you need to listen to Sandler trainer David Davies in this week’s episode of Mind Your F**king Business Podcast. 

Perhaps you want your salespeople to be more effective, but you know that no one likes pushy salespeople, so where is the balance to be struck?

“Having ‘salesperson’ on your business card does not make you a professional salesperson. And yet with all those millions and millions of pounds invested in sales, training, sales techniques and sales tactics, the results are the same today as they were when I started out.”

David has been in sales for over 35 years. He’s now a Sandler trainer based in Reading, Berkshire and the vast majority of the time he’s been involved in tech. But that doesn’t mean that what he’s got to say isn’t relevant to your industry, because David’s approach to sales is applicable whatever your business. 

“The Sandler sales methodology is a B2C business as much as a B2B business. It’s as much for the individual as it is for the organisation.”

On today’s podcast:

  • The most successful organisation he’s been involved in
  • Why David became a Sandler trainer
  • How the Sandler approach is different
  • Why David’s clients are predominantly tech businesses
  • Selling is a mutual problem solving exercise
  • The industry sin isn’t commission
  • Why PowerPoint is still relevant in sales
  • How to work more effectively with partners


David Davies has been in sales for 35 years. He’s seen all the different approaches to sales and he knows that nobody likes to sell and nobody likes to be sold to. So how do you make your salespeople more effective? 

This is the question that David was wondering himself, having spent his career in sales. But it was a moment of clarity that saw him adopt the Sandler methodology to sales, realising that whilst he’d been successful so far, he could be more successful by doing less or at least doing something differently. 

Why the Sandler methodology differs

“It starts with the first rule of Sandler that I ever learned, which is, all buyers lie all the time.”

The Sandler approach to sales was different to how every other salesperson seemed to be operating. Most salespeople take the approach of, ‘if it doesn’t fit, figure out a way to twist the individual to take if off you anyway.’

The Sandler methodology taught David to be upfront with customers:  

“Know where you’re going, and agree up front what we’re going to do together. And if we’re not going to do anything together, let’s agree that up front too.”

Sandler and technology

David works almost exclusively with tech companies who routinely have less than 50 employees, because they all have one thing in common – they all have a founder who has set up a business in a field in which they are the expert, but that field isn’t selling, and they haven’t had to sell before. And selling is how their business is going to grow. 

“You know, the petrol in the engine of every business is sales. And it doesn’t matter how you look at it, they don’t happen by accident. I’ve tried staring furiously at the phone for 8 hours. And I cannot make it ring.”

For David, the thing he loves most about the Sandler methodology is that it is built on the foundations of psychology, transactional analysis.

“My mantra is that selling is a mutual problem solving exercise. And if it isn’t, then you’re really not achieving very much. You can probably manipulate someone into buying from you once, but most of us prefer to have clients that stay with us for a long time. Preferably a lifetime.” 

The profession of sales

A report released in 2016 said that 85% of salespeople never hit their targets, ever. And only 15% of them hit them in multiple companies, over multiple time frames. 

“If your accountant got the sums wrong that often, or any surgeon with a death rate that high or anyone wrote code that badly, they would be fired instantly. And yet I meet people all the time who put up with salespeople who have no skills, have no curiosity, and don’t seem to want to get any better, and aren’t very good at it. It’s incredible.”

And taking away commission isn’t how you get people to perform better either. 

“The industry sin isn’t commission,” says David, “the industry sin is investing in cheap, tired and tested tactics that make sales people ugly and uncomfortable to spend any time with.”

How to be better at sales

If you want to be better at sales, you have to listen to the customer and learn how to communicate. You have to understand what’s going on in their world, and then be able to share with them how your technology, or your solution could potentially augment their world. You need to be able to show them how to get from where they are to where they want to be. 

“Learn to have the confidence to establish up front a comfortable environment to do business.  And a comfortable environment to do business is founded in rapport, which is the ability or French word that describes two people that are willing to be open and honest with each other. 

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