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on 15 April 2012
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.

And the book builds on how to provide those insights as sales rep, on how to tailor your message, on how to take control of the sale (and negotiate the sale), on how to manage your sales reps and on how to implement these challenger sale changes in your organization.

The book delivers very nicely on providing hard data, the importance of these data, and changes needed to excel in a complex sales.

Negative element:

A classic problem with sales books is that all claim to give you the most advanced and most unique sale system on the planet. The authors do give a data solid case for their method, still it has to withstand the test of time. On the other hand, the book is complete from A to Z. And the data gives some really nice (and yes perhaps even unexpected) insights on how complex sale could improve.

Interesting element:

The authors here made a great effort not only to give you the data but also to "respectfully" teach the reader how to implement these insights (as obtained from the study). Therefore they actually sell the reader these insights just according to the principles uncovered by the study. The book itself is really a complete "product". I could not find unnecessary chapters or paragraphs for example.

Well written, great editing and excellent structure: combined this makes this book a very nice read on how complex sales could improve - for yourself, for your client, for you as manager or coach and organization.

Really nice done!

Contents:
Introduction: a surprising look into the future
1. The evolving journey of solution selling
2. The Challenger - Part 1: A new model for high performance
3. The Challenger - Part 2: Exporting the model to the core
4. Teaching for differentiation - Part 1: Why insights matters
5. Teaching for differentiation - Part 2: How to build insight-led conversations
6. Tailoring for resonance
7. Taking control of the sale
8. The manager and the Challenger selling model
9. Implementation lessons from the early adopters
Afterword: Challenging beyond sales
Acknowledgements
Appendix A: Challenger coaching guide
Appendix B: Selling style self-diagnostic
Appendix C: Challenger hiring guide: Key questions to ask in the interview
Index
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on 24 October 2013
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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on 13 November 2013
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 www.scc-uk.com
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on 13 January 2014
In my CRM (Customer Relationship Management) business, I have struggled for a while to develop a sales strategy. This book managed to summarise very succinctly why it is so difficult to sell a complex solution, and provided insights that have had an immediate impact.

Well written with very practical explanations, it had me nodding my head from page 1. And I absolutely must disagree from the detractors (some scoring this book as a 1-star?!). I have a small business, with less than 10 employees, and The Challenger Sale is very, very relevant to me.

If you are looking for some quick sales steps and guidelines to sell (uncomplicated) widgets, then perhaps this is not the best starting point. If you are a business owner / manager, or a sales professional of ANY description, this is a must-read.

I have recommended this book to 5 other people (so far!).
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on 9 February 2014
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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on 3 March 2016
If you are a salesman, selling technology in today's market you need to read this book. Most tech sales companies will ask you during interview what persona you fall into, you need to have a good answer. Will certainly help your sales process following all the steps too, the rational drowning area needs to considered with caution.
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on 3 August 2016
If you are in sales then you must read this book as it will totally blow your mind and change the way you used to think about sales. I have been in enterprise software sales for 6 years and can relate to so many scenarios described in the book. I have already noticed significant results and improvements
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on 7 April 2013
Yet again a book that believes it can transform personality free sales execs into world gurus - The truth is if you sell through relationships fine, if you have a brain fine - mechanically using these approaches will make no dfference
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on 5 May 2013
Interesting set of principles, although like most of these types of books they are geared around big corporations, not really geared to the SME market in the UK. It is for sales people with a captive audience already. Once you are of a certain size.
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on 2 May 2015
My employer gifted me this book during the 2014 sales conference. I read it and saw all the video's related to it on Youtube and like it all. Having focused on turning around troubled relationships in the past and having a passion for insurance thought leadership, the book helped understand the gaps towards becoming a challenger salesman. It has already helped in changing the way I engage with customers with measurable success. I recommend this book strongly and am waiting for the book on challenger marketing. Most importantly I like the challenger sales model, because it fits my values and personality quite well.
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