Challengers Are Made Not Born

“The Challenger Sale” by Mathew Dixon and Brent Adamson has been proclaimed as “the most important advance in selling in many years.” After just going through the training and after reading the book several times I am finally of the belief that yes…challengers can be made if we understand the ideas that inspired the book. Putting it simply, the Challenger Idea is very similar to the training we have been conducting for years here at ISN – the challenger knows how to take control of the client conversation, and by doing so can help clients make better decisions.

In their book, Dixon and Adamson have done extensive research on sales professionals and breaks them down into 5 different types:

  • The Hard Worker – Always willing to go the extra mile; Doesn’t give up easily; self motivated; interested in feedback and development
  • The Relationship Builder – Builds strong advocates in organizations; generous in giving time to others; gets along with everyone
  • The Lone Wolf – Follows own instincts; self-assured; independent
  • The Problem Solver – Reliably responds to internal and external stakeholders; ensures that all problems are solved; detail oriented

It is the fifth type – The Challenger as Dixon and Adamson call them that their research shows is the most successful –

  • The Challenger – Always has a different view of the world; understand’s the client’s business; loves to debate; asks the right questions and waits for the answers.

Here are some good examples of questions that can help control the conversation. Try some of these out and see if you can rise to the Challenge!

challenge customer assumptions by introducing new conditions:

“Based on these unique circumstances, what would need to change to…”

paraphrase to drive to your desired outcome:

“It sounds like you are saying…”  “Am I correct in assuming that…”

allow customers to do most of the talking:

“I see your point, but how does that apply to us?”

The Challenger is a unique individual. He has mastered the art of questioning to control the conversation. He can reframe the customers view in a way that leads them toward our solution. The reps who come to our training can learn this technique and develop better relationships and derive more success in their practice. Call us today to ask about our next training.



About Jeffrey Berson

40 years in and around the industry has made Insurance a part of my DNA. I have had the pleasure of working with and for some of the greatest minds in our industry. My "Bersonal" View is an attempt to capture some of the best ideas, the best concepts and the best practices in a way that can lead to success for others. It will certainly be my point of view, so please...don't take it "Bersonal".
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