Most Effective Salespeople: Part 2 The Challenger

The Challenger closes more business in complex sales cycles than ALL of the other types of salespeople combined.  In part one I discussed how a salesperson who relies on relationship building may not necessarily add value in a complex sales cycle.  This also applies in an economic downturn where potential customers are looking for any advantage they can get.  In their book to be released on November 10, 2011, “The Challenger Sales: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation”, Matt Dixon and Brent Adamson go into this in more detail.  The book was a reaction to the question of why the best salespeople utilizing time-proven tactics were not winning deals.  The study of salespeople led to five different profiles – the Relationship Builder, the Lone Wolf, the Problem Solver, the Hard Worker, and the Challenger.  The Challenger is the debater who is constantly challenging the customer to think about his organization or problem in a new way.  The result in an insight into the customer’s business that is of far more value than just a relationship.  While the relationship gets you in the door, the salesperson has to have more to offer – he needs respect more than he needs to be liked.  An important point coming out of the study is that challengers can be made and do not have to be born that way.