You Can't Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar

You Can’t Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar – Book Review

By: David Sandler


In 1966, David Sandler revolutionized sales with his unique approach. Struggling as a young salesperson, he abandoned traditional methods and created the “verbal contracts” of his 7 Step System for Successful Selling. Grounded in psychology, Sandler’s system remains effective today.

Strategies for Success: Dummying Up

Successful salespeople employ “dummying up,” resembling beginners but doing so intentionally. When asked questions, they seek information, practicing the art of not giving away too much too soon. Techniques like reversing and negative reverse selling keep prospects engaged while encouraging them to close themselves.

Step One: Establish Rapport

Rapport involves making the prospect feel more comfortable than the salesperson. Strategies include making oneself intentionally “Not-OK,” using dummy-up phrases, avoiding buzzwords, and employing mirroring techniques based on the prospect’s communication style.

Step Two: Establish an Up-Front Contract

The upfront contract, the most assertive step, ensures mutual agreement on goals, time, roles, and the meeting’s conclusion. It facilitates question-asking, clarifies next steps, and helps determine if the relationship is a good fit.

Step Three: Uncover the Prospects’ Pain

Understanding prospects’ pain is critical. Sandler’s three-part formula involves assessing the problem’s duration, probing with active listening, and guiding prospects to a critical state where they recognize their urgent need for a solution.

Step Four: Discuss Money

Fearlessly discussing money is essential. Early discussion, post-pain recognition, helps gauge the prospect’s willingness to invest and avoids time wasted on unqualified leads. Techniques like bracketing and assessing budget readiness are employed.

Step Five: Deal with Decision Makers

Identifying decision-makers is crucial. Adopting a news story approach (What, When, How, Who, Why) clarifies the decision-making process, ensuring a deeper understanding of roles, timelines, and the criteria for choosing.

Step Six: Present the Solution

Presenting the solution follows pain acknowledgment and budget discussion. It involves reviewing agreements, focusing on solving pain points, and utilizing the thermometer technique to gauge prospect commitment. Closing occurs when prospects rate their readiness as 10.

Step Seven: Reinforce the Sale

Closing is only complete when money is secured. Addressing buyer’s remorse directly through third-party stories and gaining agreement on commitment minimizes the risk of cancellations.


Mastering the Sandler Way involves being a “dummy,” asking questions liberally, and following the 7 steps. Embracing this process positions sales professionals to close more deals successfully.

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