Understanding the Challenger Approach

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I have always approached sales with the idea that I want to help prospective clients find the best solution to solve their problems – even if that solution is not ours. We had been using principles out of the Challenger Sale to help our prospects long before the study was created. It’s an approach that works.

The Challenger Sale

The Challenger Sale is based on a research project by the Gartner Group. They surveyed 6,000 sales reps across 90 Fortune 500 companies. In their research, they revealed 5 main types of sales reps and discovered that the least successful one was the relationship builder. It was a surprising finding because it used to be that you approached sales by finding reps who could build a relationship with your prospects – often a relationship so good that they had no problem letting you know they went with a different solution.

The Challenger Rep

The most successful sales rep in the study was the Challenger Rep and they do a few things differently:

  • Bring a unique and valuable perspective across the whole market
  • Provide key insights to help prospective clients navigate all the options that are open to them

It’s absolutely true that you need to have a good relationship in order to sell – it’s just no longer the most important part. Sales has evolved. Your prospect is coming to the table with so much more information than they ever had before, and they are already informed about most of what a sales rep has to say. Bringing that unique insight to the table is what really sets you apart. And the more complex the sale, the more important that becomes.

Take a Key Insight-Driven Approach

The goal of using the Challenger Approach is that every prospective client you sit down with is better off because they met with you. It’s really about taking a consultative and thought leadership approach. Consultants get three times more referrals than sales reps, so you really want your sales reps to be experts in the market. You want them to bring that valuable knowledge to the table with every prospect they talk to.

The number of times a prospect purchases a product or service is much smaller than the number of times you sell one. Your experience across the market is valuable when you’re helping a prospect make a decision. Just changing how we sell can have a dramatic impact on the trajectory of your business and your sales numbers. 53% of the value of why a purchase decision is made comes from the sales process. Not from the brand, the delivery, or the customer service that happens after the sale.

If you put these two things together – taking a key insight-driven approach and leveraging your experience throughout the sales process – you’re changing the whole impact of the business. It’s the one thing that really works.

All the best,

Bill Bice

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