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Are you Exploring all Angles?


Written for The Burnside News

Bertrand Russell was a Welsh philosopher, logician and social critic. He wrote his own ‘Ten Commandments’ based on his research on human interactions and they appeared in the New York Times in 1951.

When I read them, I couldn’t help but relate them to David Sandler’s Rules for Professional Selling. Here are a few of my favourite Russell Rules, and how they relate to Sandler Rules.

Russell Rule: “Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.”

Sandler Rule: “No mind reading.”

Do we ever make assumptions with prospects and clients that we shouldn’t? How often do we “feel certain” of things, then backtrack or even lose a sale because we didn’t think to, or bother to, explore a subject we assumed was covered? If they haven’t confirmed it – ask. If you aren’t sure – ask. We can’t read minds and we know that the person asking the questions is who’s in control.

Russell Rule: “Do not think it worthwhile to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.”

Sandler Rule: “No mutual mystification.”

Not all topics covered in the sales process are comfortable conversations. What happens if we leave tough discussions to the end or leave them out entirely? We can’t hide anything if we want to be a trusted advisor. The selling process must be an adult to adult conversation. Instead of shying away from unpleasant conversations, ask permission to talk about them and get them out on the table before they derail your sale.

Russell Rule: “Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.”

Sandler Rule: “All prospects lie, all the time.”

We of course want to be respectful of everyone. What I believe Russell and Sandler are talking about is challenging perceived authority. Sandler knew that people don’t want to be sold and buyers are conditioned to protect themselves from traditional selling principles. Sometimes prospects feel the need to be authoritative over salespeople so they aren’t pushed into a sale, so they lie or – at minimum – don’t reveal everything. That’s normal. I do that. Salespeople must nurture challenge buyers with compelling questions in order to lower the barriers prospects use to protect themselves if they want to become a trusted advisor.

Head to the web and read all of Russell’s rules. Keep exploring different avenues for learning; you might be surprised at what you discover. Finding different ways to explore your sales philosophy will keep you sharp and support your sales process.

©2011 Sandler Training Inc. ( is an international sales and management training/consulting firm. For a free copy of Why Salespeople Fail And What To Do About It, call Sandler Training at 902-468-0787 or e-mail

Eric Fry

Sandler trainer