In a previous post, we explored the five salesperson archetypes and learned that the “challenger” archetype out-performs the other four by a wide margin. The data from Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson’s study, which resulted in their book titled “The Challenger Sale,” suggests that the challenger archetype salesperson is defined by three unique capabilities. They called them the three T’s: teach, tailor, and take control.
Challengers teach their customers. They focus the sales conversation not on features and benefits, but on insight. They bring a unique and typically provocative perspective to the customer’s business. They come to the table with new ideas for their customers that can make or save them money. Often their insight includes opportunities that the customer hadn’t realized existed. You know you are doing it right when the customer pauses during the meeting and says, “Huh, I never thought of that”.
Challengers tailor their sales message to the customer. They have a finely tuned sense of the individual customer’s objectives and values. They use this knowledge to effectively position their sales pitch to different types of customer stakeholders within the organization. We wrote about the three distinctly different stakeholders in a complex sale and what they need in a previous post call “The Complex Sale.” Rather than tailor the pitch on the fly, they anticipate what each stakeholder’s needs based on their research and other similar clients. Then, they prepare a tailored message for each stakeholder.
Challengers take control of the sale. While not aggressive, they are certainly more assertive. They are comfortable with tension and are unlikely to acquiesce to every customer demand. When necessary, they have the fortitude to press the customer a bit. They challenge the customer not just in terms of their thinking, but around things like price. When faced with a price objection they are quick to redirect the conversation back to lifetime value and avoid compromising on price.
How can you incorporate the three unique attributes of the challenger salesperson of teach, tailor, and take control into your sales process?
For more information on practical sales ideas check out the book “Practical Sales Ideas For Your Small Business“
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