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.