challenger sale methodology

The book, The Challenger Sale, was first published less than a decade ago and quickly became the topic of discussion because of its positioning as anti solution selling – a methodology vastly adopted by organisation around the world.

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While The Challenger Sale needs to be on the required reading list for every salesperson, until you find the time to read it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t benefit from a few of it teachings. There are several key takeaways from the book which you can start using to improve your own sales techniques beginning today.

The Challenger Sale Types Of Sales Reps

5 Types of Salespeople

The Challenger Sale concept starts by defining the five different types of salespeople. These archetypes include The Hard Worker, The Relationship Builder, The Lone Wolf, The Problem Solver, and finally The Challenger.

The Hard Worker

The hard worker is defined by their self-motivation and a determination to not give up. They’re often open to feedback and are interested in personal development.

The Lone Wolf

The Lone Wolf follows their own instincts and can be difficult to manage although they can deliver satisfactory results. They are often self-assured.

The Relationship Builder

The relationship builder is a classic consultative selling representative who asks lots of questions and focuses on building relationships with customers.

The Problem Solver

The Problem Solver is detail oriented and focuses on solving problems. They are reliable and often focus more on customer service instead of closing sales.

The Challenger

The Challenger loves to debate and isn’t afraid to push the customer. They’re well versed in the customer’s business allowing them to give valuable insights the customer might not have come up with on their own.

Although it is normal for salespeople to have traits spanning several of these archetypes, most people find that the majority of their sales habits will naturally fall into only one of the five categories.

As you might imagine from the title of the book, authors Dixon and Adamson believe that the most successful salespeople have more of the sales traits of The Challenger archetype.

Traits of a Challenger

The Challenger excels at adopting unique perspectives when it comes to creating solutions for existing problems and has the ability to get potential customers excited about these new possibilities. At the same time, the Challenger is able to promote his or her own products as the ideal innovative solutions to these problems. 

Salespeople who fall into The Challenger archetype also tend to do their homework when it comes to getting to know their customer. Challengers make it their goal to know as much as they can about what drives a lead’s decision-making process when it comes to economics and values. This allows them to personalise their sales presentation to address these factors.

Finally, The Challenger is relentless when it comes to taking charge of conversations and fearlessly pushes leads towards closed deals by taking control at every opportunity. 

In short, Challengers are said to win by teaching prospects to change their perceptions, tailoring their sales approach to the leads personal values and economic needs, and finally taking control of the sales process

3 Techniques to Incorporate from The Challenger Sale

  1. Identify a unique opportunity to help a lead’s business solve a problem. Since at this stage you are attempting to teach the prospect something new about their own business, it is critical that the insight is something that not even the prospect has thought of themselves. 
  2. Present a solution to take advantage of the insight you offered in the first step. Make sure that you showcase how your solution can directly improve the lead’s business.
  3. Apply firm but gentle pressure to your contact person when it comes to closing the deal. Refuse to negotiate on price while continuously emphasising the added benefit that your solution will provide to their company. 
3 Challenger Techniques Infographic

Soco Sales Training’s Take on The Challenger Sale Methodology

Incorporating sales techniques from The Challenger Sale takes experience and effort. While it can be effective when done right, when attempted by unexperienced and not naturally aggressive sales people, it can back fire and lead to lost sales instead of increased sales.

It’s important to understand the concepts from the book and be experienced enough to know when to use the techniques and when not to.

If you need help training your sales team on new sales skills and techniques, drop us an email to get more information.

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Author Profile

Tom Abbott
Tom Abbott is the author of 'The SOHO Solution' and 'Social Selling' and the creator of the online sales training platform SOCO Academy. Sales leaders engage Tom for his proven solutions to building high performance sales teams that exceed targets and for motivational keynotes that energise their audiences.

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