In a world of hesitant, risk-averse, empowered customers, what sales profile consistently wins?
That’s the question the folks over a CEB (The Corporate Executive Board Company) asked themselves. So they conducted a survey of more than 6,000 sales people across a wide range of industries and in multiple geographic territories. Their research uncovered 5 sales profiles that people fit into. Here they are:
- The “Problem Solver” – Detail orientated, reliable, and naturally drawn to solving client issues. The Problem Solver excels at handling the post-sale service issues that can harm a client relationship.
- The “Relationship Builder” – Focused on serving the customer. This profile is adept at building and nuturing customer relationships by being highly accessable to customers and responsive to thier specific needs.
- The “Challenger” – The debater on the team. The Challenger has a deep understanding of the customer’s business and isn’t afraid to share their view. Assertive in dealing with internal and external stakeholders. Tends to push people out of their comfort zone.
- The “Lone Wolf” – Self confident. This profile follows their own instincts instead of the rules.
- The “Hard Worker” – Always willing to go the extra mile. This person is self motivated and does not give up easily. The Hard Worker seeks out feedback and tries to identify opportunities for improvement.
Question: Of these 5, which do you think is the most effective at closing business?
If you’re like most people you likely think that its the “Relationship Builder”. Common wisdom says that the sales rep with the best relationships always wins. There’s no disputing that building relationships with customers is important – but is this enough?
Findings for the most effective sales profile
- The “Challenger” – 39% – The Clear Winner!!
- The “Lone Wolf” – 25%
- The “Hard Worker” – 17%
- The “Problem Solver” – 12%
- The “Relationship Builder” – 7%
Turns out that the most effective sales profile is the “Challenger” and by a fairly large margin. But why?
The answer lies in the idea change. Simply things have changed. It’s no longer sufficient to simply have good relationships. Top performers are “Challengers” who force their customers to think outside box, push for creative solutions, and get their clients to realize they have problems they did not know they had.
“Challengers” are 10x better for complex sales according to CEB.
3 Things “Challengers” do different
- Challengers keep the level of contact at a high level. Which means they find ways to continue to communicate with the decision makers.
- Challengers keep the perceptions wide. Ever had a client do business with a competitor simply because they did not know that you provided the product of service. That’s referred to as a narrowing perception.
- Challengers make customers want to talk to them first. By challenging the customer, coming up with ideas, the “Challenger” is the person the customer wants to talk to first. The “Challenger” is the trusted adviser.
Learn more about CEB’s research on which sales profiles wins the most. Here’s a link to where you can buy their book.