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The Challenger Sale  By  cover art

The Challenger Sale

By: Matthew Dixon,Brent Adamson
Narrated by: Matthew Dixon,Brent Adamson
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Publisher's Summary

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.

The need to understand what top-performing reps are doing that their average performing colleagues are not drove Matthew Dixon, Brent Adamson, and their colleagues at Corporate Executive Board to investigate the skills, behaviors, knowledge, and attitudes that matter most for high performance. And what they discovered may be the biggest shock to conventional sales wisdom in decades.

Based on an exhaustive study of thousands of sales reps across multiple industries and geographies, The Challenger Sale argues that classic relationship building is a losing approach, especially when it comes to selling complex, large-scale business-to-business solutions. The authors' study found that every sales rep in the world falls into one of five distinct profiles, and while all of these types of reps can deliver average sales performance, only one - the Challenger - delivers consistently high performance.

Instead of bludgeoning customers with endless facts and features about their company and products, Challengers approach customers with unique insights about how they can save or make money. They tailor their sales message to the customer's specific needs and objectives. Rather than acquiescing to the customer's every demand or objection, they are assertive, pushing back when necessary and taking control of the sale.

The things that make Challengers unique are replicable and teachable to the average sales rep. Once you understand how to identify the Challengers in your organization, you can model their approach and embed it throughout your sales force. The authors explain how almost any average-performing rep, once equipped with the right tools, can successfully reframe customers' expectations and deliver a distinctive purchase experience that drives higher levels of customer loyalty and, ultimately, greater growth.

©2011 Matthew Dixon (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“The history of sales has been one of steady progress interrupted by a few real breakthroughs that have changed the whole direction of the profession. These breakthroughs, marked by radical new thinking and dra­matic improvements in sales results, have been rare.... Which brings me to The Challenger Sale and the work of the Sales Executive Council.... On the face of it, their research has all the initial signs that it may be game-changing.... My advice is this: Read it, think about it, implement it. You, and your organization, will be glad you did.” (Professor Neil Rackham, author of SPIN Selling, from the foreword)

“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)

“This is a must-read book for every sales professional. The authors’ groundbreak­ing research explains how the rules for selling have changed - and what to do about it. If you don’t want to be left behind, don’t miss this innovative book that provides the new formula for selling success.” (Ken Revenaugh, vice president, sales operations, Oakwood Temporary Housing)

What listeners say about The Challenger Sale

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Bellow average book

Books about sales are never filled with ground breaking discoveries or filled with tactics that people who do sales wouldn't know. Sales books are made to remind you of techniques and motivate you for the time when you face the customer.

This book, however, is less filled with knowledge than an average book and when listening to it I thought I was listening to a commercial promoting writers further services. Most valuable content of the book could be finished in less than 30 mins of reading...

6 people found this helpful

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Telling Selling Gets a Book

I'm grateful this was not the first sales book I read - my career would have suffered.

The last part of the book contains a chapter that uses the Challenger method to push people to buy the program. Listen to that and you'll experience just how offputting this stuff can be to most people.

I think I once had a sales manager who read this because he always asserted he knew the clients business better then they did. He also 'tell sold' and chastised my search for the best questions to ask. The only leads they closed were inbound who were ready to buy. Their outbound leads never went anywhere. I don't find this surprising one bit.

So why does this weird book even exist? I think it stemmed from people trying to sell stuff no one wanted or needed. They got desperate, and in a fit of rage, started to shout at customers... and then it was probably born. In a fit of frustration.

There is one rather big premise I do agree with: many people are unaware of their problems. There are far better question based ways of helping people see them. The issue here is that question based selling is hard for most to learn. It's also hard to learn how to influence, be charismatic, etc. Telling selling is easier, it also fails to sell anyone who hasn't already decided to buy, that's probably why you see a lot of people saying that your marketing must be 'on point' to get challenger working - because you'll need the prospect to be pre-sold.

Last note. This method seems low on emotional and social intelligence.

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Good content, not best fit for audiobook

Not best suited to audio book. Lack of reviews at end of sections hurt it.

1 person found this helpful

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Repetitive, not a lot of value

Buy only if you are new to sales, if experienced in sales this book add close to zero value. I felt in an infomercial for a good part of the book.

1 person found this helpful

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Good Book, Just Needs More Examples

Good read but it needed more examples of people and companies actually adapting the model. I would have liked more examples of how to give a challenger presentation for instance.

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Great insights!

Chapter 6 is Gold. The rest is good but I really loved those chapters. Could have used a little more suggestion for how to frame the steps of the princess but still good

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very detailed and actionable

actually somewhat algorithmic in nature which is surprising and refreshing for a sales book. definitely recommend this as a good read

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book was focused heavily on company structure

Reader did well, book focused more on company structure more than individual rep for my preference. It also spent far too much time on why to do the recommended sales process than how to do it though supporting illustrations were still sufficient. Teaching the industry instead of focusing on selling is great advice and really builds confidence in your solution.

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Wonderful informative book

It’s not based on opinions or anything that “has worked for me so it will definitely work for you”. All the recommendations are evidence based practice. 10/10

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challenge

is a book abour how to be tough with seller and maintain professionalism love it

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  • TH
  • 07-21-21

Great listen for all salespeople

Great listen, with som really insightful lessons. Will definitely listen again as there's a lot of info to digest.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Brenda Thompson
  • 02-08-22

A sales book that makes sense

A sales book that makes sense, makes a difference, sees people as people and gives a constructive way forward. excellent

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  • Anubhav Sharma
  • 08-03-20

great book but could've been shorter

great book but could've been shorter. there is some repetition but overall great insights. Kudos

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-14-20

Damning insights, very apt for the times

The content is undoubtedkt vakuable unformation and will be applied going forward.

Struggled towards the end after main insights were laid out.

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  • ben
  • 01-15-20

Great Content Bad Delivery

Content is valuable and highly relevant. Voice over spoke faster than any audio book I’ve ever listened to and this wasn’t enjoyable. On this one occasion, I’d recommend the book to the audible version as the book will be less effort.

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  • Patrick Haynes
  • 01-06-20

Turns traditional models on its head

This isn’t your typical sales manual, filled with promises of its efficacy through confident speech and motivational pep talks.

It is based on data recorded during a vital period and offers genuine insight into why the 80/20 makes itself so apparent and why some reps just don’t seem to break through mediocrity.

It’s focused on B2B however for the rep working with consumers they will find some valuable gems and allow newbies to break free of worn out sales models that do not work for everyone.

It’s not lamen speech and for some they will find the content filled with jargon and difficult to digest in big sittings however I encourage people to keep a notepad and pen nearby to extract key points.

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  • Michael Burns
  • 08-16-19

fantastic...worthy of a deep study!!!

fantastic...worthy of a deep study!!! easy to read and a departure from mainstream sales jargon...totally refreshing

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-15-21

Sales Bible

Please don’t purchase this book! I’d rather keep this secret up my sleeve before the world catches on.

We all think our product is wonderful, but ‘The Challenger Sale’ reminds us that most offers have a similar competitor. It highlights avoiding cringe cliche descriptors that attempt to differentiate, but equate to “sameness” and merely result in price discounting.

How to stand out? Insight driven sales strategy approach, teaching customers about problems they didn’t know they had and creating new customers, not finding them. Ka-Ching, ka-Ching. 💸


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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-03-19

the worst book ever, writers doesn't know anythin

the writers doesn't have any clue about the topic.
it was really a waste of my life to listen to this book!