Challenge Your Customer

June 21, 2012

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.

I’ll be sharing insights and the process for creating a powerful message that can serve as the basis for your Commercial Teaching Point-of-View on our first Sales Genius Network webinar, Creating a Powerful Sales Message: Getting In the Right Doors Faster.

Filed Under Business Growth Strategy, Sales Strategy | | Blog Home


13 Responses to “Challenge Your Customer”

  1. Rod Johnson says:

    Doug, you have become my #1 blogger for sales insight and this blog entry is a perfect reason why. You capture with simple clarity many of the insights in the difference of commodity sellers and differentiator sellers.

    Thanks and keep up the great work.

    P.S. I’m bummed that you’re not presenting to Vistage groups anymore – I’d have you back to Minnesota in a second…

  2. great site, keep up the awesome/helpful posts. Excellent blog with valuable tips! :)
    Thanks for sharing this idea interesting blog, Please continue this great work.

    Rusty Solomon

  3. Brannon Poe says:

    It takes confidence to challenge your clients. Great insight!


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  5. [...] a clear commercial teaching point-of-view that challenges and changes your Headpin Customers’ perspectives.  Without a commercial teaching point-of-view, you can only focus on features and benefits, which [...]

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  8. […] you must first change how your customers/prospects think about the solution you provide.  You must provoke them, and break them out of their traditional, status quo thinking.  And you can’t do that when your […]

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