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

Sales Book Review You Can't Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a SeminarYou Can’t Teach A Kid To Ride A Bike At A Seminar

Sales Book by: David Sandler

Summary by: Rob Reed


Introduction – You Can’t Teach A Kid to Ride A Bike At A Seminar

Overall, You Can’t Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar by David Sandler, is not recommended if you want to be a trusted seller. While the book has a few very worthwhile chapters, it simply contains too much advice that can damage trust development between seller and buyer.

For example, several times author David Sandler writes that “prospects lie.” If a seller brings that opinion to an opportunity, it will be difficult to build trust at any time during the relationship.

The book does include some valuable ideas, including the I/R (Identity/Role) model, which describes how to separate your identity from the inevitable rejections you receive in your role as a salesperson. The idea of Up-Front Contracts is also of interest.

Summary – You Can’t Teach A Kid to Ride A Bike At A Seminar

Early in the book, Sandler writes, “[the] prospect’s value system says that lies to salespeople do not count … it doesn’t matter what prospects say … they are (almost always) lying!” This attitude infects all advice in the book and leads to the use of manipulative selling techniques. For this reason alone, I can’t recommend the book. As I will show in this review, however, there are additional problems with the book.

The Sandler Submarine

Sandler defines a seven-step sales process he calls “The Sandler Submarine:”

1.      Bonding and rapport

2.      Up-front contracts

3.      Pain

4.      Budget

5.      Decision

6.      Fulfillment

7.      Post-Sell

The name comes from this idea: As you finish each step, you close and lock a “water-tight door” so the prospect can’t return to it. Sandler presents techniques to do this and therefore put the salesperson in control of the sales process. Unfortunately, we do not feel that Sandler recommends appropriate use of these techniques.

Ethics in Selling

Sandler seems to believe that ethical behavior and trust are simply a veneer slapped on the surface of a buy/sell relationship — for the benefit of sellers:

  • “You’ll be surprised how quickly people will trust you when you respond to them with ‘I understand.’
  • “Take your lead from the prospect. Shake your head sympathetically. Empathize with the prospect’s pain. At this point, selling is acting.”

He also recommends using these active listening techniques:

1.      Tell prospects that you understand.

2.      Repeat the prospect’s words.

3.      Paraphrase the prospect’s words.

4.      Provide feedback about what the prospect is feeling.

Then he says, “Try these techniques and you’ll discover that your prospects will be inclined to trust you.”

Sandler’s advice strongly implies that trust is simply a matter of technique. Use the right technique, and you’ll be trusted.

I don’t agree with this superficial view of trust.

Sandler even uses the offer of trust itself as a manipulative tool. He writes, “Here’s another way to approach the prospect who says it’s over: ‘Now that it is over, can I stop being a salesperson for a minute and be a consultant?’”

This implies that up to that moment the seller has been in an adversarial relationship, seeking a “win” over the buyer. Now Sandler advises the seller to…[Please click to learn how to get the rest of this sales book review and much more.]