From The Editor | November 18, 2013

Recommended VAR Reading: The Challenger Sale

By Jim Roddy, president, Business Solutions magazine

BSM-Multitasking

I read The Challenger Sale about a year ago and have been testing its principles and techniques whenever I can. I think the business-to-business sales methods taught in this book are the real deal and could have a significant impact on VAR organizations as they strive to be trusted advisors.

The gist of The Challenger Sale can be summed up in these four excerpts:

  • The typical sales approach is based on a deeply flawed assumption: that customers actually know what they need in the first place. Rather than asking customers what they need, the better sales technique is to tell customers what they need.
  • Customers have told us that for reps who provide information that is interesting and valuable, the customer would have been willing to pay for the conversation itself.
  • You know you’re on the right track when you hear the customer say, “Huh, I never thought of it that way before.”
  • If you truly want to build a “customer-centric” organization, then you’re actually going to have to build an insight-centric organization — a commercial enterprise specifically designed to generate new-to-the-world insights that teach customers to think differently about their business.

I think vertically-focused VARs can provide that level of insight to prospects and customers. That will help solutions providers fend off cut-rate competition and keep their margins high.

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