Challenger Selling is simply the re-booted and re-packaged Structured Selling process that made Ziff-Davis famous. By presenting a “challenge” that the customer is facing, like losing market share or missing sales, providing important information about that challenge, the sales person can better capture the attention of any prospect to engage them in a sales conversation that leads from the challenge — read their needs — to the solution being sold.
You might think that a super-star like Heismen Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers would just go to a meeting and clients would through money at him. But as the group discussed how to break new accounts and build the relationships and trust that leads to business, Johnny pointed out that in his experience it takes 7 “touches” to build a relationship to be ready to do business.
In our world of ad-sales, the important stuff is how well you understand your customers and how you can help them compete better by delivering perspective and solutions that will drive their sales.
Client-centric selling means building your sales argument from an agreed upon assumption. If the client or prospect doesn’t agree with the assumption that your persuasion is based upon, then why would they agree with your conclusion?
When you are selling advertising, start your conversation with your prospect by asserting what you know about their business, and what you believe they need. If you are right, they will agree and tell you more. If you are wrong, you need to know that. If you are well-prepared they will be impressed with your knowledge, and listen more attentively.
As a media company manager, you talk all the time about how fast the media business is changing around you. Do you spend enough on helping your sales force stay up-to-date with new media, and new tactics to win in todays hyper-competitive advertising sales market? US companies spend 1.75% of sales compensation on training. That would translate to $1,750 annually for a $100,000 a year sales executive.
Ziff-Davis is legendary in the magazine industry for it’s dedication to sales training and in particular for the structured selling approach it demanded of its sales people. Establishing shared agreement to a set of assumptions is the only way to persuade using logic. And logic, not likability, not sincerity, not guilt from accepted favors, is the only portable form of persuasion that allows a sales prospect to persuade their own superiors to support the purchase of media.
Dr. Arvey uncovered research attesting to the benefits of face-to-face meetings while preparing a report: “Why Face-to-Face Business Meetings Matter.” Studies indicate 85 percent believe face-to-face meetings are more likely to result in breakthrough thinking; and 82 percent believe that meetings bring out the best in people.