Qualifying Prospects for Higher Success Rates

Identifying and measuring a prospect’s pain early in the sales process is one of the most effective ways to increase sales. So how do we uncover a potential client’s pain without being obvious about what we are doing? You already know and understand why Bonding and Rapport is the first step in the Sandler Sales Process, so now you can take the next step to get a clearer understanding of the challenges and pains your prospects face on a daily basis.

You need to establish trust with your prospect so they feel comfortable talking to you about their problems or pain. Earlier in the Sandler Sales process, we talked about using NLP, or Neuro-Linguistic Programming to disarm your prospect through powerful techniques like mirroring and matching. Now we will talk about another powerful tool called DISC, or Dominant, Influencer, Steady Relator, and Compliant.


In the DISC model, psychologists have isolated four human behavioral traits. Most people have a mix of these four traits, but usually one type dominates their personality more than the others. You can gain some great advantages if you can identify your prospects DISC personality type and adjust your behavior and communication style to match the prospect’s personality. This will give you a huge boost in your rapport and communication with this person as you take them through the Sandler system and eventually close the deal. DISC is something we teach throughout the Sandler process and can be used in combination with NLP to give you two very powerful selling tools.


Dominant-style individuals will be direct and candid, and, in extreme situations, may even be perceived as being terse, uncaring, or cold. They are risk takers and problem solvers who tend to have high levels of personal confidence.

Certainly, when they’re not self-aware and are low in the other three personality styles (which we’ll get to in a moment), these prospects tend to want a win-lose outcome in the negotiation. Translation: They want the salesperson to lose and they want to win.

Build rapport with Dominant buyers by demonstrating your efficiency. Let them feel that they are in control while you subtly navigate the conversation to the topic that really matters to them: their pain.


Next you have Influencers. These prospects are talkative, energized by social interaction, colorful, and fun. Whereas with the Dominants, a sense of humor might be considered a waste of time, with high Influencers, there is a need to enjoy the experience of buying from you. Therefore, an appropriate series of jokes or social settings (such as having your meeting over lunch) is something that resonates with the high Influencers. They need this socialization; it helps them to establish a bond.

When dealing with these buyers, allow for more time in your sales call than you would with Dominants. Let Influencers enjoy the experience and fully communicate with you; that’s what makes them feel comfortable. You can recognize Influencers by their optimism and affability.

Steady Relators

The third behavioral type is the Steady Relator. Steady Relators are loyal and yearn to build relationships based on trust. Before they’ll do business, they want to trust the sales-person. Compared to the Dominant and Influencer buyers, the Steady Relators have introverted personalities.

If Steady Relators don’t feel like they can trust you, they will not likely do business with you unless they absolutely have no other choice. When dealing with these prospects, take the time to get to know them, their goals, and their pains. Let them get to know you, too, but don’t share any of your pain.


Finally, in the DISC model, you have Compliants. These individuals do their research. They gather reams of information before they make any decision. All too frequently in a selling situation, everything boils down to price with the Compliant. Many salespeople find dealing with them to be the most difficult challenge because most salespeople are Dominants or Influencers, or some combination of the two, and they just don’t understand what makes Compliants tick.

Compliants tend to appear very logical, but behind it all, fear is the emotion that rules their decision-making. Like Steady Relators, these folks are introverted. They often take the longest to make decisions compared to the other three behavioral styles.

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