4 Steps to Maximizing Challenger Selling

Challenger Selling is a popular concept that many businesses are trying to leverage. Companies like the  Challenger method, but sometimes find the implementation of the concepts difficult in real life. We have found that a  customized “boot camp” can be implemented to achieve amazing results. Here are the steps to building a successful boot camp: 

1. Focus on the “how” not the “what”

The challenger selling class or book does a good job of showing the concepts of the program. The key here is to focus solely on the practical application of the Challenger techniques and customization of these practical activities to fit your business and customers. Resist the urge to introduce new concepts or techniques. As you follow the steps below, make sure that you have tailored each of the activities to mirror actual, in-field activity.  

2. Start with building your insight 

Building the insight is often the hardest step for most salespeople. Our experience tells us that this is the result of misunderstanding the process. Here are some ways to avoid common mistakes in developing an insight:

Involve marketing up front. Marketing should drive the unique value proposition that leads to your insight. What do they know about your product/service’s unique value? Remember, it doesn’t take a “game-changing” difference to build a UVP (Unique Value Proposition) 

Focus on your organization and not on your accounts.  Focus on your product or service’s unique characteristics and then think about who would benefit from your uniqueness. Many times, salespeople try to develop a UVP for each customer. That is simply not possible.

Most organizations have only one to two UVP’s. Don’t try to stretch credibility by claiming minute differences that are of little impact or interest to your customers.

3. Simplify the Challenger method

The Challenger six-step process (warmer, re-frame, rational drowning, emotional impact, a new way and our solution can be simplified to three steps:

  1. Provide game-changing insight in a way that builds receptivity. Use neuroscience techniques to modify the warmer stage, as most people don’t feel comfortable bringing up an Insight that challenges. We have discovered that using the influence techniques of: 1) describe your customers current behavior, 2) explain why given the data at the time, their decision made sense, and 3) what has changed that makes that decision no longer practical, can lead to immediate success. 
  2. Personalize the impact of that insight.  Once your insight is developed, think about the impact of that insight to different customer types. You will need to tailor the insight to match the chief concerns of that type of customer. 
  3. Introduce your organization’s capabilities as the best solution to achieving the outcome desired. You only want to create insights that lead to a need for your UVP. Once you get to the point in the discussion where you discuss capabilities, you want to focus on how your company is the only/best one to solve for the insight that you have delivered.

4. Customize, practice and build a library

The boot camp session should include time to practice the skills using real-life opportunities. This creates confidence in the participants that they can replicate the Challenger behaviors in the field. Participants write, record and present each of the steps using a real-life scenarios. This achieves three main benefits:

The participants get to practice articulating an actual insight story. We have participants record these insights on their phones and then play the recording back in the general session. They will leave the session confident that they can tell the story in front of a customer because they have practiced in a safe environment and received nuanced feedback from the instructor and fellow participants.

By sharing each participant’s insight stories, everyone can leverage other learning’s. Participants can listen to other group’s stories and begin to detect subtle differences between successful and unsuccessful stores. 

You should save the recordings from the boot camp and put them on your LMS or Sharepoint site for future reference. This will build a repository of potential UVP’s and success stories for others to emulate. 

For more information on how the Kensington Firm has lead companies through interactive boot camps to maximize their Challenger Sales, email Paul@TheKensingtonFirm.com


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