Bill House Senior Vice President with MCG PartnersBill House
Senior Vice President

The Key Ingredient to Sales Success: Understanding (Not Just Challenging) Your Buyer

I recently read the new sales book – The Challenger Sale: How to Take Control of the Customer Conversation, by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson.

In it, they describe the five types of sales people – the Hard Workers, Relationship Builders, the Lone Wolf, the Reactive Problem Solvers and the Challengers.  Anyone with sales experience likely recognizes each of these types.

According to these authors, Challengers are best suited for success, given their ability to resolve the inevitable tension of the sales process with a speedy “sales conclusion.” By challenging the buyer, they move him to believe that he needs to make changes and must do so now.

Despite the new wisdom’s consensus that the Challenger is best equipped for success, it’s important to note that different sales situations require different approaches. While each sales type is different, they each can be successful in their roles – particularly if they are in an environment where their style matches the type of sales approach that works best.

Is a Challenger going to be successful with a Controller. Who wants input his way only? Is a Challenger going to be successful with an Expresser whose strategic approach and big picture view may not react positively to this approach?  The Cooperator looks for a relationship and consensus with the seller – will the Challenger work here?

The Challenger (and the others) will work if they:

  • Understand their customer’s style and approach.
  • Adjust their approach to work in the “buyer’s world.”
  • Build a relationship when necessary.
  • Point out issues when necessary.
  • Make good points that raise legitimate issues and concerns at the right time.

The ability to add value and make the buyer consider new issues is integral today in the world of knowledgeable buyers. The way to do this best depends on the buyer – not just the seller.

Warning! It is appropriate to take control of the sale and to manage the situation as long as your tactics come from the “buyer’s world.”  Selling in a manner that is manipulative or considered a “hard sell” will not lead to success.

Everyone needs to move the prospect along the decision-making pipeline – from “all is well,” to “we need to make a change now.”  It has to be done at the right pace and with the right approach.

Let us show you how to better understand your customers, understand how to approach them in ways that lead to success, and to position yourself and your organization for the future.