I recently read what I think is one of the most important sales book I’ve read in the last few years. This book would sit right beside Book Yourself Solid as a must ready book if you want to be a great salesperson.
Before we get into the book I want to talk with you about today, I want you to make sure you need to read and go through the exercises of The Illustrated Book Yourself Solid. This book will give you the basis for developing a strong platform to use when you use the strategies that a challenger salesperson uses.
After you read and have done the Book Yourself Solid exercises I want you to run out and read The Challenger Sale by Matt Dixon and Brent Adamson. I think this book is one of the most important books I’ve ever read on the subject of sales and here’s why:
What is a challenger sale?
There are five components that are important in this type of sale. They are:
1. Your job as a salesperson is to make your customers think. This means you need to help them see the world differently in a way that will add more value to whatever it is they do.
2. You must bring new ideas to the table. The sad truth is most companies sound just like other companies in their industry. You want your company to stand out and be different. The only way you can do this is by bringing new ideas to the table.
3. You must find creative and innovative ways to help your customers business. You can’t just bring the same old ideas to your sales conversations. Your competitors are already doing this. This means your company needs an innovative process that will allow you to really know where the industry is going and help your clients get there before their competitors do.
4. If you’re going to be a challenger salesperson the good news is challenger salespeople are made and not born. All of the skills that you’ll need you can learn.
5. Remember, it’s not what you sell, but how you sell it. If you’re not helping your customers learn how to use your service and products in a manner that brings real value, you’ll end up being commoditized.
What I want you to do
• I want you to think about your customers underlying challenges. Stop thinking about the sale from your point of view. Start thinking about your sales process from your customer’s point of view. This will help you stand out and be different from your competitors.
• Realize that your customers likely have limited resources. Help them understand how what you’re selling will use those resources in a way that gets your customer a positive return.
• Make sure you have the right metrics to measure success. This means you need to be thinking about and be ready to bring to your customers the measurement tools that will help them know they’ve been successful using your solution. Remember, needed metrics may not be ones that are obvious.
• Know what your unique strengths are. If you try to be everything to everyone, you become no one to everybody. It’s time for you to focus on what you do well and understand that helping people in your wheelhouse will be more profitable than trying to do things you don’t know much about or are not very good at.
• Make sure you can reframe issues. This means that when you’re presenting your ideas, be ready to take the objections your customers raise and reframe them in a way that shows how your solution is unique and brings great value. In a sales situation and for that matter, a service situation it’s always about your customer and not you.
• Make sure you’re willing to push back. Too often salespeople are afraid of offending their customers. If you’re not willing to push back there’s no way you can help your customers make wise decisions.
What a challenger sales person needs to do.
There are three things you’re going to have to learn to do to be an effective challenger:
1. Teach – You must be a good teacher. After all, if you challenge your customers to think differently, you’re going to have to be a great teacher to do so.
2. Tailor your solution – Even if you’re customers are in the same niche, you’ll need to tailor what you want your customers to do. Most of the time it’s small changes, and in all cases, your solution has to be great from the customer’s point of view.
3. Take control of the situation – You need to set the agenda. Make sure that you stay on point and always focus on what brings value to your customer. If you let your customer take control, you’ve likely been put in a bucket of being the same as everyone else. When you take control, it’s because you’re bringing new and interesting ideas to the table.
This is how I’ve sold for years, and it’s been what I’ve done when my sales efforts have been successful. I hope you take these ideas and make them work in your business.
Again, go out and by the book. You’ll be glad you did.