The Sandler Pain Funnel: Complete Breakdown

“Folks love to purchase, however hate to be bought to.”

It sounds good, however that doesn’t actually remedy our dilemma as salespeople as a result of, clearly, it’s our job to promote to individuals.

So, this leaves a fairly large query on the desk: How can we promote to a prospect with out them feeling like they’re being bought to?

One reply to this query is the Sandler ache funnel, a way of building want and urgency with prospects that feels extra like a consultative interview than it does a gross sales pitch.

On this information, we’ll clarify how the Sandler ache funnel works and illustrate the gross sales methodology in apply with an in-depth instance.

What precisely is the Sandler ache funnel? 

The Sandler ache funnel is a scientific collection of open-ended questions designed to emphasise a buyer’s ache level (in relation to the services or products you promote) in a consultative method.

It’s a part of the Sandler Promoting System, a gross sales methodology developed by David Sandler that seeks to discard the push, high-pressure gross sales ways of the previous in favor of a extra buyer-centric, conversation-based course of.

The Sandler gross sales course of is damaged down into seven core phases:

  1. Bonding and rapport
  2. Upfront contract
  3. Ache
  4. Funds
  5. Choice
  6. Achievement
  7. Publish-sell

The ache funnel sits inside the third stage.

The overarching method is fairly easy: gross sales representatives ask a collection of questions (beginning broad and turning into extra particular) that reveal the true ache factors potential clients maintain.

Okay, however why? Let’s discover out.

Sandler ache funnel — what’s the purpose? 

Reasonably than specializing in promoting your answer, the Sandler ache funnel forces you to concentrate on constructing a relationship with the client, and uncovering their greatest challenges.

It’s a extra consultative model of promoting, higher suited to longer gross sales cycles with excessive stage decision-makers. If you use the Sandler ache funnel with potential consumers, you place your self as a trusted advisor somewhat than “simply” a salesman.

Greater than that, although, you pressure clients to confront their truest ache level, one thing they might not have actually dug that deep into.

This a part of the method is the important thing to the Sandler gross sales methodology to uncover ache factors that you should utilize to information the remainder of the gross sales course of.

How the Sandler ache funnel works 

The Sandler ache funnel is a collection of open-ended questions that steadily get extra particular.

Three level sandler pain funnel

So, you’ve acquired to begin broad.

A number of inquiries to kick off the ache dialog is likely to be:

  • What’s your purpose for [Operational area] this [Year/Quarter/Month]?
  • How are you at the moment monitoring towards [Business goal]?
  • Do you thoughts if I spend a couple of minutes getting a greater understanding of what you are promoting?
  • What are you targeted on as a enterprise proper now?
  • What have been you hoping to perform throughout right now’s name?

Right here, we’re on the lookout for our purchaser to present us a sign of a ache level. We wish to know, “Why is it that we’re speaking right now?”

When you establish a selected ache level, ask:

  • Are you able to stroll me via [Operational area] course of from [first step] to [business outcome]?
  • Are you able to be extra particular? Perhaps give me an instance.
  • Why do you suppose that is taking place? 
  • How lengthy has that been an issue?

These are floor drawback questions. Subsequent, we’re going to dive into impacts:

  • What’s the impression of this drawback in your firm?
  • What does that seem like in greenback phrases?
  • What have you ever already tried to resolve this drawback? How has that labored?
  • How efficient is your present answer, on a scale of 1-5?

Discover how we’re growing the ache. We’ve introduced it to the floor, then began to take a look at enterprise impacts. Lastly, we’ll dig into the emotional ramifications of the ache level:

  • Does your present answer produce any bottlenecks? Who’s impacted?
  • What occurs if we don’t handle this [Pain/challenge] now?
  • Have you ever given up attempting to cope with this drawback?

Sandler ache funnel questions 

Let’s discover a couple of ache questions you should utilize in your individual buyer interviews.

Bear in mind, the thought with the Sandler ache funnel is to steadily progress from broad inquiries to extra slender ones, so a few of these questions will solely be related additional on within the course of.

Sandler pain funnel questions

Sandler ache funnel instance 

The Sandler ache funnel is just not a collection of particular questions that gross sales reps should use in each name. As an alternative, it is best to adapt your method to every prospect and their present scenario.

Whereas the instance beneath is pure fiction, you should utilize it to information your individual gross sales conversations and as a framework to comply with.

Gross sales rep: Brian, do you thoughts if I affirm a couple of gadgets about your group earlier than we get began?

Purchaser: Certain.

Gross sales rep: Nice. How large is your workforce? What number of workers are you seeking to provision with NumberOneSalesCRM?

Purchaser: We’re at the moment a workforce of 14. 7 SDRs, 4 Account Executives, and myself, the Gross sales Supervisor. However we now have plans to double that headcount within the subsequent 12 months.

Gross sales rep: Wow, that’s an formidable purpose, I adore it. So what prompted you to judge an answer like NumberOneSalesCRM? When are you seeking to begin utilizing the brand new CRM to your gross sales efforts? 

Purchaser: Due to these development plans, we actually want a greater method to handle the gross sales pipeline. So we’re on the lookout for an answer roughly instantly.

Gross sales rep: After all. Okay, so most of our clients are at the moment utilizing NumberOneSalesCRM to handle inbound gross sales leads from preliminary contact via to shut. Are you able to inform me slightly extra about your gross sales course of?

Purchaser: Certain, so proper now, we function on an inbound mannequin additionally, but when I’m being actually sincere with you, we don’t have a super-strong course of. As soon as a brand new lead is available in, one of many salespeople picks it up from a shared electronic mail inbox, calls them, and takes it from there.

Gross sales rep: That is sensible. How do you’re feeling about that course of because it stands right now?

Purchaser: I do know we’ve acquired a number of room for enchancment. We’ve acquired a considerably inflexible course of we’ve been attempting to implement, nevertheless it’s been troublesome to handle.

Gross sales rep: Tough to handle? Inform me extra about that.

Purchaser: Nicely yeah, as a result of I don’t have any visibility on what my reps are doing. I don’t actually know what actions they’re operating at every stage, how usually they’re chasing up leads, or in the event that they’re even following that gross sales course of.

Gross sales rep: Hmm. I can think about that’s fairly irritating?

Purchaser: Yeah, it’s a little.

Gross sales rep: How lengthy has this been an issue?

Purchaser: For the final yr, I’d say, since we’ve been scaling the gross sales workforce.

Gross sales rep: I see. What sort of impression would you say that’s having on what you are promoting? 

Purchaser: I’m certain it’s stopping us from making a couple of gross sales, although I actually haven’t any method to quantify that proper now. However for certain, it’s stopping me from having the ability to correctly report on efficiency to my CEO and handle my gross sales workforce successfully.

Gross sales rep: After all. And what does that imply for you, not having that capability?

Purchaser: Nicely, it doesn’t really feel good, let’s put it that method. It makes one-on-ones with my boss fairly troublesome. Plus, for our sellers this lack of visibility means they generally lose offers they in any other case might need received — inflicting a few of our prime gross sales expertise to depart the corporate.

Gross sales rep: Oh wow. So it’s not solely having a huge effect on enterprise efficiency and in your job immediately, nevertheless it’s additionally stopping you from retaining key members of your workforce. How do you’re feeling about that?

Purchaser: Not tremendous completely satisfied, now that I actually give it some thought.

After the Sandler ache funnel: What’s subsequent?

Really feel like that final instance left you hanging slightly bit?

That’s as a result of it form of does. The Sandler ache funnel, keep in mind, is just one a part of the Sandler Promoting System.

So, what’s subsequent? How do you transition out of the ache funnel and into the following stage?

First, evaluate and recap the dialog you’ve simply had. Summarize (utilizing the prospect’s personal phrases) to point out that you just perceive their scenario. For instance:

Gross sales rep: So, if I can simply affirm that I perceive accurately? Because it stands right now, you’ve acquired no CRM answer, and also you’re dealing with lead administration fairly manually. Consequently, gross sales processes aren’t being adopted, you’ve acquired little visibility on gross sales workforce efficiency, and to make issues worse, key members of your gross sales workforce are leaving. Is that appropriate?

The reply out of your buyer ought to be a convincing sure. If not, you’ve acquired extra digging to do (you haven’t uncovered the true ache but).

With the recap full and confirmed, we now search dedication to vary and ask for permission to maneuver the dialog towards an answer:

Gross sales rep: So inform me, Brian, if we have been capable of put collectively an answer that gave you that visibility and perception into rep efficiency, so you could possibly present improvement alternatives the place required, and each develop your workforce and retain them, how motivated would you be to place one thing like that in play?

Buyer: Very.

Gross sales rep: Nice, how about we discover some potential options collectively?

Simple, proper?

For extra data on finances, determination, and different closing components of the system, learn our in-depth information to all the Sandler Promoting methodology. 


The Sandler ache funnel is a robust methodology for constructing belief and rapport along with your shoppers.

When used accurately, you’ll get clients to comprehend the true extent of their ache and uncover easy methods to leverage it to shut extra successfully.

Plus, you’ll have extra enjoyable holding explorative and consultative conversations, somewhat than making the identical outdated pitch day in, day trip.

For those who’re on the lookout for new methods to construct stronger relationships with prospects and finally, shut extra offers, Gong’s income intelligence platform ought to be proper up your alley.

Our platform makes use of AI to not solely establish high-value offers and prospects who’re more likely to shut, it truly listens in and understands the conversations your reps have along with your prospects. Which means you possibly can pinpoint points with struggling reps, and spotlight precisely what your prime performers do proper.

There’s a cause Gong is an official associate of Sandler Coaching. They comprehend it’s the proper device to make sure that your reps truly comply with via on the Sandler strategies you educate them. Plus, with detailed gross sales analytics, you possibly can even see the outcomes of adopting the tactic in actual time.

Latest news
Related news


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here