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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.


  1. As one of the examples used, would like to chime in :>)

    Studies do show that the old brain, the part of the brain that needs to be "excited" in order to get the message through to the logical brain, is attracted to simple pictures. As well, the old brain needs to see contrast between current state and where you would like to take the buyer (see Neuromarketing).

    A picture that works to "excite" the old brain can certainly be a hand drawing, but often, better presented using simple, but professional graphics. Although I include simple hand drawings as an attractor for blog articles, easy for me to quickly produce on my own, we ansolutely use professional drawings for our website and point-of-view PowerPoints.

    I am no artist, but sometimes whiteboarding works very well, as folks like to see the interactive dynamics of me being up at the white board and "putting on a show".

    But for many purposes: our website and marketing collateral, for sales folks who are less comfortable with drawing dynamically, and certainly for on-line meetings, we leave the drawings to the professionals.

    1. Tom, Thanks for pleading "no contest", I used your example for two reasons
      1) I really, really like your Content! and 2) I know why you are doing it.

      I just dont think the "research" is valid. Today we looked at Seth´s blog on fitting in and standing out. Quality Graphics and Photos fit in, white borading may stand out, but sometimes it stands out the same way as the wrong clothes at a wedding or a funeral standout! Your Content supported by the Great Visuals is OUTSTANDING!

      "As well, the old brain needs to see contrast between current state and where you would like to take the buyer (see Neuromarketing)."

      Check their evidence, it has the vague whiff of "Marketing Speak" or MS to me!

      And, I still love and promote you Blogs!!!

  2. That's a fun post Brian, and right on. Great examples. Those really drive the point home.