Sales Training 

Playing the Dummy Is Really Smart in Sales

In the past few blogs we’ve been talking about the highly effective Dummy Curve technique, where playing the dummy pays off big time when it comes to sales. By playing the dummy and disarming your prospect’s concern, you can get them to reveal pain and establish trust with you. In this blog, we will finish up this series on the Dummy Curve with some math.

A very effective technique is to strategically dummy-up when it’s time for you and the prospect to “do the math.” Amateur salespeople frequently make a mistake in the second phase of the Dummy Curve, mostly because they want to show off. Believing they’re on their game, the salesperson decides to quickly calculate a discount or some other metric to impress the prospect. However, they’re letting the Little Professor part of their Child personality come out so they can feel good, but instead, they’re making the prospect feel not-OK.

If there’s math to be done in your sales discussion, I encourage you to let the prospect do the math. Struggle a little bit, but not too much. You don’t want to appear stupid or weird, but, be sure to ask the prospect for help. Again, use Lt. Columbo as your role model. Remember how he asked for the pen and paper? Columbo always struggled on purpose to disarm his suspects and gain their trust. This “dummy” detective, always got his killer.

So, be Columbo, and struggle on purpose, letting the prospect feel good that they can help you, especially with the math. Never forget that people feel empowered when they help others. People let their guard drop, and they feel even more OK. Prospects will feel more comfortable and continue the conversation with you as you use the third phase of the Dummy Curve to progress through the Sandler sales submarine.


Playing dummy with the math portion of your discussion is the icing on the cake for the Dummy Curve technique. Keep asking questions too, and you will uncover more and more information, eventually leading to the prospect’s pain. Dummying up can even be thought of as the fuel that drives the Sandler Submarine. By burning that fuel efficiently, you get better at identifying exactly what the pain is, or you may find out that your prospect doesn’t have any pain and you can disqualify them. That’s a win, too. I encourage you to try the dummying-up techniques I’ve shared with you before confidently disqualifying any prospect. Prospects who don’t seem to be qualified are a great practice ground for your mastering of the Dummy Curve. Who knows? Some of them might even become customers. Wouldn’t that be awful?

In our next blog, we will begin a series on another wonderfully effective technique called Negative Reverse Selling.