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The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation

The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation [Kindle Edition]

Matthew Dixon , Brent Adamson
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

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Product Description


The most important advance in selling for many years. (Neil Rackham, author of SPIN Selling)

The amazing thing is that the Challenger sales rep has been hiding in plain sight all these years. The Challenger Sale breaks the winning elements of this powerful approach into a set of teachable skills that can take even a top sales team to a new level of results delivery. (Dan James, former chief sales officer, DuPont)

Product Description

In The Challenger Sale, Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson share the secret to sales success: don't just build relationships with customers. Challenge them

What's the secret to sales success? If you're like most business leaders, you'd say it's fundamentally about relationships - and you'd be wrong. The best salespeople don't just build relationships with customers. They challenge them.

Matthew Dixon, Brent Adamson, and their colleagues at CEB have studied the performance of thousands of sales reps worldwide. And what they discovered may be the biggest shock to conventional sales wisdom in decades.

The Challenger Sale argues that classic relationship-building is the wrong approach. Every sales rep in the world falls into one of five distinct profiles, and while all of these types of reps can deliver average performance, only one - the Challenger - delivers consistently high performance.

Instead of bludgeoning customers with facts and features, Challengers approach customers with insights about how they can save or make money. They tailor their message to the customer's specific needs. They are assertive, pushing back when necessary and taking control of the sale.

Any sales rep, once equipped with the right tools, can drive higher levels of customer loyalty and, ultimately, greater growth.

Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson are managing directors with CEB's Sales Executive Council in Washington, D.C.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must to read for B2B complex sales 15 April 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Three elements I like to share after reading this book:

Positive element:

B2B sales, complex sales, product selling versus solutions selling, and insights based selling...winning business even when there is a down market....and hard study data providing some very interesting insights on how you could improve your sales overall (study data: n=700 first, later n=6000).

Myself I liked reading on the 5 types of sales reps (the hard worker, the challenger, the relationship builder, the lone wolf and the reactive problem solver) and on how successful each type of sales rep actually is. It is a nice to know that the challenger sales rep makes actually 54% of total high performers (at least in a complex sales environment), thus making the challenger profile very likely to succeed in a complex sales environment.

The book illustrates further the 6 attributes that these challengers have in common (44 attributes tested):
- offers the customer unique perspectives
- has strong 2-way communication skills
- knows the individual customer's value drivers
- can identify economic drivers of the customer's business
- is comfortable discussing money
- can pressure the customer.

The book builds also on elements what contribute to customer loyalty -> the purchase experience:
- offers unique valuable perspectives on the market
- helps me navigate alternatives
- provides ongoing advice or consultation
- helps me avoid potential land mines
- educates me on new issues and outcomes
- supplier is easy to buy from
- supplier has widespread support across my organization.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Challenger Sale supports much of my own strongly held beliefs built on nearly 30 years of selling, leading and coaching salespeople in B2B solutions, services and consultancy environments. In this it comes closer than most other books I have read and I have gained some refreshing new insights as well.

This book shows the salesperson how to add considerable value for the customer by constructively challenging their thinking in order to help them make more informed and thus better decisions. Sadly this sort of true customer engagement is rare amongst salespeople, too many of whom tend to stay in the comfort zone of telling and selling, rather than challenging.

The only thing I have a personal dislike for is the use of the word "Pitch" - to me this cheapens the process and is more suited to the price and availability arena of commodity sales. Other than this, I really associated with the key messages.

Harry Hayden
Sales Coaching Consultancy
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit obvious? 24 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this after reading a centre page synopsis in the British Airways in flight magazine earlier this year, but I have got half way through the book and concluded that it does not contain a significant challenge to the orthodox thinking (at least in my field of global automotive sales anyway).
If you have some years experience of managing high performing sales teams, then almost all of the points covered would be something that you would have used or encountered already, and to claim it is revolutionary is something of an exaggeration to say the least, although it does have some merits. By all means buy it and read it, on the basis that you can always learn something, and that alone has value, just don't expect to be blown away by it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'The Challenger sale' my thoughts 12 Jun 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is suitable for anyone or group whose job it is to get others to act in their favor. For sales people it stresses why being assertive is the key. Too many are passive relationship builders.
Jim Healy
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but long winded... 14 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I liked the ideas in this book, but it took a long time to get to them!

The book could do with being separated into the science behind getting to the findings, and then putting the findings into practice...maybe even two separate books for different audiences. Worth the money but a long time to get to the nub of the issue!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Selling Excellence 28 Mar 2014
In these challenging times, every sales person would benefit from revisiting how they engage their customers in conversation...... I was already aware of the original research and found it a thought provoking back-ground read.
However, I do not believe it to be a 'self-study' book! You would need a lot of help to put everything into practice! ...As an experienced sales training manager and coach, I found it a useful tool when designing a selling workshop with supporting role plays and coaching case studies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Up to date sales book 9 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
We all love Brian Tracy, Zig Ziglar, Neil Rackman etc etc but this book is a real 201x sales book and the Challenger model make so much sense.

More for a business than an individual, if you are looking for new ideas for your business on how to increase sales through real value differentiation this is a great concept and if everyone works together can make a massive difference.

Also good for an individual, I am trying to use the tactics in my solution selling process. Must read for ANY sales professional.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
An interesting read for anyone involved in sales.
Published 2 days ago by Julie Franks
3.0 out of 5 stars Booooooooooring
Boring drawn out over complicated dribble with no sense of character , good if you need to go to sleep quickly
Published 2 days ago by G.k satisfied customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Advertorial and Dull Examples
Some great insights and fresh ideas if Challenger is new to you. Let down by the tone and content that often reads like an advert for CEB's services - don't let this put you off... Read more
Published 11 days ago by inspector connector
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great book
Published 16 days ago by Patricia
1.0 out of 5 stars I challenge you to find anything useful in this book
This has got to be the biggest load of rubbish I have ever read about selling.
Sorry, but it is - in my opinion. Read more
Published 25 days ago by MH
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, thought provoking method of selling.
Engaging, thought provoking method of selling. For those of us who had tried relationship building sales technique only to feel it's inadequacy this book will help you find the way
Published 1 month ago by Paulo Ribeiro
5.0 out of 5 stars Innovative
Biggest innovation in thinking since strategic selling
Published 1 month ago by Doug
3.0 out of 5 stars A helpful support to other sales methodologies
Interesting in that it combines a number of previously structured sales methodologies and simplifies the concept that to win - we must challenge. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Carol Martin
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read if not a little heavy at times makes ...
A good read if not a little heavy at times makes a lot of sence & give some good tipes & tricks to tryin an ever changing sales environment
Published 3 months ago by Paul Farr
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Interesting idea. I will put it in practice and see if it works.
It may take some time before i will see the results...
Published 5 months ago by Horia Boicu
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