The Challenger Sale was another great read on sales and sales tactics. Similar to SPIN Selling, it focused on the interactions and discussions with the customer and how to approach and nurture the relationship for success.
The book is based on a study of an organisation and the information and advice the book provides is based on the learning's and findings from the authors research.
In their research, authors Matthew and Brent discovered five types of sales workers, these are:
- The challenger
- The hard worker
- The relationship builder
- The lone wolf
- The reactive problem solver
They then studied these types of sales workers to understand which approach lead to the most success. Their finding was that the first type, The Challenger, was most successful.
When they deconstructed what actions these sales workers were taking and found a set of actions they called Constructive Tension, challenger sales workers, taught for differentiation, took control of the sale and tailored their messages for resonance. All of these actions kept the customer engaged and positioned the sales worker and his organisation as knowledgeable experts who understood their customers business.
Teaching for differentiation involved providing insights to their customers on industry trends, unique perspectives, compelling industry issues, potential land minds, etc. The sales workers would use these insights to lead conversations and lead towards solutions and implementations. Conversations such as these, also help to create a sense of urgency for the customer and their organisation to act on this information.
Tailoring for resonance is about ensuring that the message or insights being shared are framed and relevant to the customers being pitched too. Challenger sales workers need to understand the buying influences of the customer, their needs and desires and tailor the message to have an impact on them.
Taking control of the sale, contrary to what it's name might suggest, it is not about being aggressive towards the customer in moving them through the sales process. Instead it means to plan purposefully, planning for and anticipating questions, preparing answers in advance, knowing the client, being prepared for the negotiation and to avoid pitfalls such as discussing cost and money too early without first setting an understanding of value and without understanding why cost is important to the customer.
Overall the book provided some great insights into the customer interaction and provided some solid advice on how to approach and execute the conversation.