Anyone in sales can tell you that the rules today are much different than they were 25 years ago. The playing field has changed in numerous ways. Those who haven’t kept up are sure to be kept out as customer expectations continue to evolve.
The bottom line? It’s no longer enough to build relationships, uncover needs and solve challenges. Of course those things are still important, but today’s salespeople must take things a few steps further (and deeper) in order to succeed.
The Challenger Sale
Of the countless books out there designed to teach good salespeople how to be great, one that truly resonates with me – based on an exhaustive study of thousands of sales representatives across numerous industries and geographies – is The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson.
The basic premise of the book for me is simple: Today’s customers value insight and education every bit as much as they value service and your knowledge of their business and its unique needs. In other words, “You don’t have a great value proposition unless you can bring insights and value that they didn’t know they needed to the first conversation.”
Instead of bombarding customers with facts and features about their company and products, Challengers approach customers with unique insights about how they can save or make money. They tailor their sales message to the customer’s specific needs and objectives.
That concept led me to ponder Blueline’s value proposition and ask myself: Does Blueline bring unique insights and value to its prospective customers? Do we tailor our message to our customers’ specific needs and objectives?
Our focus has always been on asking questions to gain a clear understanding of needs and then formulating a solution that encompasses the best way to address those needs. And although that’s still a viable model, today’s customers demand that you prove yourself by offering insights and value before they’ll commit the time to help you understand their challenges. That’s as true for my customers as it is for yours.
So today we start by making the case for using business simulations and engaging people. We share insights about the evolving demographics of their workforce and the often-misrepresented role that engagement plays in changing belief systems, retaining knowledge and transforming skills.
We also make the case for a mix of technologies that maximize the impact of a three-pronged learning strategy that includes reference, immersion and community. By doing so, we earn the right to explore our customers’ unique requirements and put forth a recommendation.
Our belief in and commit to this approach is such that we have transformed the way we serve up these insights and others via our website. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to spend some time on our site, and let us know if we’ve hit the mark.
In the meantime, if you’re wrestling with how to meaningfully implement skills and strategies from The Challenger Sale in your own organization, the team at Blueline would be delighted to share our insights with you.
I also invite you to contact us to learn more about any of our custom classroom simulations, Blueline Blueprint™ learning visuals or other innovative delivery methods that have been generating notable business results in leading organizations worldwide for more than 13 years.