Sales -The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation – Book Review

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Sep 112011

Sales –The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation – Book Review

Sales: By Paul McCord |September 7, 2011| McCord Training

Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson in their new book, The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation (Portfolio/Penguin: 2011) challenge traditional sales theory at its very core.  According to their study, the generally accepted view that in complex selling the Relationship Sellers are the most effective and key for building a high performance sales team is 100% wrong.  In fact, they argue, that of the 5 types of salespeople they identified: The Hard Worker; The Relationship Builder, The Lone Wolf, The Problem Solver, and the Challenger, the Relationship Builder was the worst performer by far.

Not buying it?

Well, they have some pretty good support—Neil Rackham for one.  Now although  Rackham hasn’t reached the level of deity—yet anyway—having him write the Foreword to the book and endorse their conclusion has to make one sit up and take the book seriously.

The Challenger Sale is based on a study of over 6,000 sales reps from across the globe and “representing every major industry, geography, and go-to-market model.”  The study is based on a survey of forty-five rep attributes which include attitudes, skills and behaviors, activities, and knowledge.

The study broke the various sellers they found into five types:

The Hard Worker: the rep “that shows up early, stays late, and is always willing to put in the extra effort.”

The Relationship Builder: “is all about building and nurturing strong personal and professional relationships and advocates across the customer organization.”

The Lone Wolf: are deeply self-confident and follow their instincts, not the company rules

The Problem Solver: is “highly reliable and very detail-oriented.”  They make sure all the promises have been kept and focus on follow-up.

The Challenger:  “They’ve got a deep understanding of the customer’s business and use that understanding to challenge the customer’s thinking and teach them something new about how their company operates.”

When the authors examined each of these groups in terms of production, they discovered no significant difference between the five groups when they looked at average sellers.  In other words, anyone can be an average seller.  However, when they examined the top sellers in organizations they discovered a huge difference—the Challenger model created by far the most top performers while the Relationship Builder model was left in the dust by the other four models.



To Discuss how these Solutions will add value for you, your organization and/or your clients, Affinity/Resale Opportunities, and/or Collaborative Efforts, Please Contact:

Tom McDonald,; 608-788-5144; Skype: tsmw5752

McDonald Sales and Marketing, LLC