It took me a little longer than I thought, but I just finished Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson’s The Challenger Sale.
Another great book recommendation from a sales rep who was actually selling to me. This book builds on the SPIN Selling as the next big innovation in sales.
Needless to say, I learned a lot from the book, and enjoyed it immensely. In fact, after just reading the first few chapters, I started to hack my selling style immediately to be more Challenger-oriented.
What was interesting was that out of the different selling personas, the Relationship Builder typically had the lowest sales success. This was daunting for me as I typically harp on the importance of relationships, and though, I do take on several attributes of a Challenger (like teaching and tailoring, especially), I still may be very Relationship-oriented.
Here are my take-aways from the book:
  • In today’s noise-filled world, Challenger sales reps focus and drive value for prospects from the get-go. They are focused. They are tenacious.
  • The essence of the Challenger sale is about teaching prospects insights they do not know about their industries, tailoringthe solution for the prospects’ businesses, and taking control of the sales process.
  • Relationship builders focus on convenience for customers while Challengers focus on delivering value. Challengers are comfortable pushing prospects out of their comfort zones – challenging prospects to think differently.
  • Prospects are looking for ways to get the competitive advantage – new ways to cut costs, increase sales, expand markets. It’s about insight, and this is how Challengers approach sales. They provide insight into the industry and highlight a problem the prospect didn’t know he had, and they hammer home the urgency to solve it.
  • Marketing is the “insight generating machine” arming sales reps with quality material to teach and engage prospects. This is one of the reasons why infographics, white papers, and case studies are valuable collateral for reps.
  • The Challenger builds a team of advocates to ensure the buyer has backing – mitigate the risk of the buyer.
  • The Challenger teaches why the problem is urgent; else, the customer won’t see the importance of solving it (now).
  • Sales leadership is about sales innovation – how leaders can move stagnant deals forward. Sales innovation is the single biggest sales-related attribute of a world-class sales manager.
  • Sales success is about being able to tackle the things you don’t know, not about what you do know. It’s about being creative and innovative to solve problems.
  • “Be memorable, not agreeable.”

Great read especially as a relatively “young” sales professional not having formal experience before diving in when Body Boss was started. Next up for sales book reading – Predictable Revenue.

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