The foundation of the Challenger sales methodology is education, not relationship-building with prospects.
Your sales representatives must be prepared to take charge of the transaction and influence customers to make decisions. Selling effectively can be compared to riding a rollercoaster. By illustrating what will happen if consumers don’t take action, it plays on their concerns. Framing your product as the answer to these terrifying possibilities finally raises their hopes. The prospect is eager to buy your product at the end of this emotional rollercoaster.
In this RisePath article, we shall go through the five-step strategy that can be used to adopt the methodology.
Step 1: Warming up
Building credibility with prospects through clever communication is the first stage in the Challenger sales process. Your sales representatives must demonstrate to their clients that they are aware of the difficulties they are dealing with. Your salespeople must extensively research and investigate the prospect’s needs, issues, and pain areas in order to do this.
Other selling strategies call for salespeople to discuss what your product can do, but the Challenger sale strategy requires salespeople to discuss the wants of their prospects. At this point, you never mention your product; instead, the conversation should be entirely focused on the prospect’s issue.
Sales agents ought to:
- Show potential customers the reason for your contact: To demonstrate that you understand and can empathise with the prospect, bring up common problems they may be facing.
- Substantiate their expertise: Show that you have the relevant expertise to comprehend the issues and challenges your prospect is facing.
- Arouse their curiosity: Introduce any information or study about the issue that might be of interest.
- Get involved: To engage the prospect in the conversation and identify the key pain points they are experiencing, use visuals and interactive content.
At this point, sales representatives should try to engage their prospects in no more than a thought-provoking chat. The preparation done for these initial discussions aids in laying the foundations for selling later on.
Step 2: Reframe the discussion
The prospect may have mentioned that finding clients is their main challenge during the warm-up. Or perhaps their marketing expenses are too expensive. The goal of the following stage is to identify the source of the prospect’s issues and reframe them as possibilities for growth.
The sales representative can start dispelling any misconceptions the prospect may have once they have dug a little deeper about how they would address their issues.
- Remaining focused. Reiterate comprehension, knowledge, and competence while addressing the issues the prospect raised in step 1.
- Changing a prospect’s perceptions about you in a surprising way. Encourage them to change their attention from the old, ineffective solutions they thought they could apply to the new, more efficient ones.
- Confidently addressing the issue. This type of conversational reversal necessitates a certain amount of confidence and fearlessness, two qualities that define the best salespeople. The prospect will have greater faith in the salesperson to propose alternatives if they perceive them as confident and approachable.
Again, the objective of this step is not to close a deal. The salesperson should just be attempting to pique the prospect’s curiosity and encourage innovative thinking.
Step 3: Express feelings
Emotions continue to be a major factor in B2B sales, regardless of how great your product is or how many features it has. It has been studied that 95% of our decisions are subconscious and typically influenced by our emotional responses.
One company with a very ‘tired’ brand dug into consumers’ unspoken thoughts and emotions and found a crucial, fundamental emotion that all brands in the sector had been ignoring. They were able to link this feeling with their brand, greatly boosting sales.
A prospect is more likely to purchase a product if they can more easily relate to it personally.
Presenting prospects with relatable customer experiences is a terrific method to encourage them to perceive personal value. The prospect may start to identify with the main character and feel more connected to your goods by hearing tales of other customers who have experienced similar issues. Additionally, you’re compelling the prospect to see how they, too, might profit by demonstrating how these previous clients benefited from a new solution.
It becomes more difficult for a prospect to return to their previous patterns of thinking once they realise that an alternative option might actually be able to fix their problem.
Reps can take the emotional rollercoaster a step further by showing prospects what will happen if they don’t alter their perspective now that the prospect is pleasantly visualising themselves using a new solution. They may carry it out by:
- Narrating a tale. Storytelling will have an emotional impact. Reps should use a tale to illustrate what will occur if their prospect stays on their current course. By addressing the problems, obstacles, and failed solutions of their potential customers, they should make the story relatable.
- Utilising client narratives. Then, substitute real-life success stories for this hypothetical unpleasant conclusion. Case studies of individuals who have used these alternative methods to overcome their difficulties should be used to support the accounts. As pictures remain in people’s minds more than words during a sales pitch or sales presentation, or even when sent over email, sales reps should incorporate visuals when conveying the narrative.
- Doing research. Now is the opportunity to share priceless knowledge in a way that speaks to the prospect’s worries and goals. Reps should use evidence to support their claims as soon as the prospect starts to envision themselves using the new service.
All of the hard work begins to come together at this stage. If done properly, it’s nearly impossible for a prospect to understand the advantages of keeping on their current course.
Step 4: The value proposition
Now is the moment to outline the advantages of a better future for the prospect and any stakeholders if they choose the new course presented to them.
Reps still shouldn’t provide your product as the solution right away, just like with other sales strategies like SPIN selling. Instead, they should concentrate on demonstrating to the prospect how simple it is to fix their problem.
Reps can explain these options as follows:
- Illuminating a vision of a happy future. Reps told a bad-ending story in the final phase. To demonstrate their prospect what the future will look like if they decide to act, they should now flip this scenario.
- Solutions-oriented thinking is none other than that. The prospect needs to begin making connections on their own.
- Not sprinting, but running a marathon. Any questions the prospect may have should be thoroughly explained by the rep. If absolutely essential, they can assist the potential customer in making connections.
Without ever mentioning your product, the ultimate aim of this phase is to inform the prospect about the appropriate answer to their problem. The prospect will sell themselves on your solution before your rep ever needs to, which may seem counterintuitive, but if representatives do this well, it will happen.
Step 5: The product
The arduous labour is finished. The salesperson has taken the prospect’s issue, reframed it, acquired their trust, and presented a solution. Reps need merely fill in the blanks and demonstrate to their prospect that they have the precise solution.
Due to the fact that with challenger sales, the sales rep is already in charge of the conversation from the outset, if reps follow all the phases in the process correctly, this last step should be simple and quick. What you’re selling will determine how they introduce your product.
The Challenger sales model and technique is helpful in this situation since sales processes are getting more complicated and prospects are performing more independent research before contacting a sales representative.
Sales organisations and leaders must look for ways to advance. Research has shown that the Challenger sales model aids sales teams in closing agreements and succeeding in difficult sales cycles. Sales representatives can take charge of the selling process by taking a prospect on an emotional rollercoaster and showing them that the solution they believed to be the greatest might not be.
The outcome? A prospect’s mental process is simplified, and they are instructed in a new concept. If done well, your product could transform from one of several possibilities to the sole conceivable answer to their issue.
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