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Challenge Your Customer

by Doug Davidoff | Jun 21, 2012 4:59:00 AM

The Corporate Executive Board (CEB) recently released one of the most comprehensive and insightful studies into what causes successful sales efforts.  They published their findings in an excellent book The Challenger Sale (I’ll share my review of this book in a future post).

One of the key findings of the study is that customers and prospects desire and value salespeople and selling organizations that challenge their thinking, provide unique insights into how they can do their job better and enable them navigate unseen pitfalls.

One of the secrets to being able to cut the sales cycle time in any sales process is the ability of the selling organization or salesperson to stimulate the thinking of their prospects and market. How do you do this? By putting forth what I refer to as a Commercial Teaching Point-of-View.

A Commercial Teaching Point-of-View is designed to provoke and reframe a prospects beliefs, mindset or thoughts about their current situation. It's successful when it stimulates the prospect to think and become curious. There are five key components to a successful point-of-view:

  1. It's focused on the prospects world, and it's about their issues, not your solution.

  2. It challenges the prospect's thinking. Your not looking for an "amen" here. Quite the contrary, if the prospect already agrees with what you're saying, you'll be treated as a commodity.

  3. It connects, partially or fully with a important or critical issue in your prospect's world. Remember, it's about them, not your solution.

  4. It plays to your area of advantage. It requires you to understand and focus on what you do differently than others, and, more importantly, why that matters.

  5. It leads to an investigative or diagnostic sales process.