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Thursday, 7 June 2012

Putting the Challenger Sale to Work (SIX)


Making a Challenger Sales Presentation or NOT?

I love Flip Charts the fresh white surface, the smell of the permanent marker Pens! If you have been to one of my “Early Closing” days, then you know the room fills with Flip-chart pages 20 or more blue tacked to walls, windows and doors. Flip charts filled with 3M post its which are sorted, listed grouped as we identify HOW we will win the sale, and WHAT we have to do to win it!

I do not like “Whiteboards” so much, you cannot bring them with you,
and you are not allowed to take them away after you finish!

The content is temporary, like their Dry Marker Pens (more Dry than Marker) with almost no smell.
The main use I put whiteboards to is as a Projection Screen for presentations, and they are not very good at that either.
They always have a glaring, reflective “hot-spot” which prevents the viewer from seeing the best bit!

It has been with some interest that I have watched the FAD of “Sales White-boarding” grow.
Like all FADS, numerous people claim its invention. Moreover, even more “licenced”
or “accredited” to run a “White Board Sales School” Training Courses.

There is a wide range of Claims for “white boarding”, the basic claim is it’s “better” than PowerPoint.
Additional claims are its memorable, creative, flexible and persuasive.

The CLAIMED out comes of white boarding are SHORTER Selling Cycles, BETTER Sales Margins and
more acceptable to C level Buyers. Most Firms would want these.

What is the reality?    Have a look at this video.

Are their Claims met?    Is it ´operator error´ or is it the concept?

Let us compare this to a simple PowerPoint Presentation on a similar subject.

There is a “script”, which the presenters are trained to “tailor” to their audience.
If it is no better, it is certainly no worse.


Let us look at some static images

white boarding bad 1   then this one       your fired


Which is a C-level graphic, which is a play ground doodle?


These are two BLOG graphics from one of my favourite bloggers, a really smart guy…….

Bad graphic     or    Good Graphic




Many smart people are being mesmerised by this approach,

especially in MARKETING, but MOST Sales people CANNOT use it effectively,

only a very few who do use it, use it even fairly well.


What you did………

what you did         what you tried to do…….   what you think you did


My conclusion: if you have an arty degree,

especially in the graphic arts this tool may help you.

If you do NOT have any talent in lettering or drawing,
if you always lose at Pictionary,
then remember the Saying

“A fool with a tool is still a fool!” (Thanks Tamara)


What does all this have to do with Challenger Selling?

I have watched a series of great opportunities being blown due to inappropriate amateurish,
even childish efforts to whiteboard.  And, at the same time as the CMO is sending
more and more people of for “Training” in the ART.

Buy a copy of “The Challenger Sale” for your Salespeople instead, it’s cheaper,
the outcomes are SHORTER Selling Cycles, BETTER Sales Margins and
more “Challenging Selling” is a lot more acceptable to C level Buyers, than DOODLES.

If your PowerPoint Skills are poor, then get trained.

If your PowerPoint Presentations are boring or extra-long then buy the book “Beyond Bullet points”,
and realise the power of Great Storytelling, together with great graphics
in a really SALES PROFESSIONAL way.


In Challenger Selling,
you do a lot of hard work to earn your Presentation Opportunities,
Tailor and Control it instead.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Putting the Challenger Sale to Work (Five)


a Challenger Insight


The CEB research clearly shows that Challenger Insights work.

However, few Salespeople are actually using them!


Let´s review briefly, what USP´s are:

“The Unique Selling Proposition (a.k.a. Unique Selling Point, or USP) is a marketing concept
that was first proposed as a theory to understand a pattern among successful advertising campaigns
of the early 1940s. It states that such campaigns made unique propositions to the customer and
that this convinced them to switch brands.


Marketing produces USP´s by the gazillion:

Faster, bigger, smaller, easier, cheaper, and on and on!

HOWEVER, do they work?

C5 no fuel  USP:

The Gas ‘free’ car



We have known for years, in Sales, that USP´s DO NOT SELL.

Rackham’s Research published as SPIN Selling devotes a chapter to it (Ch.9)

The Myth and Magic” of the Initial Benefit Statement
and the USP in “Opening the Sale” is just another rod on Sale’s back!

“It’s the fastest on the Market!” offers the novice Salesperson.

“We do NOT need more SPEED, we need more reliability,
and faster usually means LESS RELIABILITY!”
Retorts the cynical Customer.

This really is stepping off on the wrong foot,
from push “benefit” to Customer Objection in less than 10 seconds!

“We do not want your USP of speed;
we believe that might damage the reliability that we really need.”

The brochures promote SPEED, the adverts promote SPEED,
and the Call-centre is calling trying to book appointments for salespeople to talk about SPEED.
It is another failed Marketing Campaign, but Sales is going to get the blame.

“They didn't sell the USP: SPEED!” laments the CMO.


Opening the Sale refresher


How do we construct these Challenger Insights?

goFrom the MARKET, not MARKETING!

Get together with some customers, product specialists and ….
OK some marketing people
(but have an equal number of Salespeople present).
DO NOT let Marketing seize the White Board
or write-up the minutes of the meeting.

Have a Customer Engagement;

see their world through their eyes.

Ask Customers to design your next product,
or to modify your existing products.

Find out where “Speed”, size, or cost etc. is on their priority list.

From the meeting develop and test a variety of “insights”,
this is the beginning of Challenger Insights. (And the end of the USP! fiasco)