Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation by Matthew Dixon

The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer ConversationThe Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation by Matthew Dixon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Challenger Sale is not a bad book, especially when directed to the right audience, but that is where I had trouble with it. I picked it up as a general manager of a small business, and found that although some of the ideas were good, and the research interesting, it was not very applicable in my situation. It would be better directed toward sales managers in established organizations. The method it promotes is to control the sale by way challenging the customer, and I like that approach. However, so much of small business is about learning about the customer that I can't see where this would be a better overall approach. I can't have our sales team out challenging our customers all day, not because I fear they would be over bearing, but because I know we would miss opportunities to hear from the customer. In a small business, the sales function isn't just about sales. It is market research, product development and R&D all at once.

I got the most value from the general concept that the challenger persona is the real winner in sales, not the relationship builder. Their research was compelling, but even more importantly the examples resonated with my own experience. For those 20 pages I took notes, and took pictures of the graphs, and I think I can incorporate those insights into my business. And then there was the rest of the book.

The rest of the book is really a conglomerate of a few other known skillsets. Take the Crucial Conversations material and combine it with a good negotiation book, such as Getting Past No, and you well over 50% of the way there on this material. With that in mind, this would have been better as a 90 page pamphlet, outlining their research and what it discovered.