The Challenger Sale Choreography
If you are familiar with the Challenger Sale, you will quickly recognize the six components of the Challenger Choreography described as follows:
A cursory review of what each stage of the choreography is intended to accomplish is largely unsurprising, and in five of the six stages, looks similar to many selling systems* out there.
There is more than meets the eye, especially as the real point of differentiation tends to hinge on the second stage with the Reframe. Being able to Reframe, or share an insight in a way that the prospect hasn’t thought of or considered before, is paramount to moving successfully through the rest of the choreography.
*Just a quick note to remind people that The Challenger Sale is not touted, nor intended as a ‘selling system.’ Brent Adamson shared the following on the topic in a blog post back in 2012…
“The Challenger Sale isn’t so much a “selling system,” as it is a way to think differently about how to approach customer interactions.”
— Brent Adamson
Cultivating Rep Proficiency with the Reframe
If you are looking to build proficiency in the way your sales and marketing staff successfully communicates reframes, perhaps the exercises we had done in weekly team meetings will be helpful to you in working with your teams.
Getting people to think differently about something in ways they have never done before is not an easy task, especially for those that had not been thinking that way. Therefore, we were looking to develop and cultivate competencies in this specific area so our team could recognize unique points of view and deliver them without the feeling of “starting from scratch,” as some had described the process.
The ‘Reframe’ Exercise
Following is an exercise I led the teams through to not just teach them what to say, but rather teach them how to think to create effective reframes.
Each Team Leader would bring a mystery grab bag of everyday items to the meeting. The team would pair up and grab an item from the bag. Representative items included things like scissors, a whiteboard eraser, aspirin, etc.
The pairs would take 5 minutes to come up with their Teaching Point, followed by a Warmer and a Reframe on their respective item. Next, they would present to the team for a team evaluation. We would then debrief with the whole team by asking a series of questions, such as, “Did they lead WITH the solution or lead TO the solution?” and “Did they share an insight in a way you hadn’t considered before?”
In one of the exercises, the teams were tasked with reframing the same item – a wire coat hanger. Some groups went down the path of calling out the many uses for a wire coat hanger (e.g., “perfect for unlocking car doors,” which is the stereotypical, product-centric, ‘lead WITH’ approach). We debriefed and they understood where they made their mistake.
However, following is what came from one group [in abbreviated form] as they had a better handle on the reframe process…
Teaching Point: Homeowners are often short on closet space and fail to realize the main culprits of closet space are plastic and wooden hangers which are 5-10 times the width of wire coat hangers.
Warmer: “We often hear from many of our customers that closet space at home is at a premium as they cite that they have too many clothes and their closets are too small. Is this something you experience as well? [They validate with the customer, so as not to assume a problem they don’t have]. The customer/prospect is invited to share the specific details of their problems.
Reframe: “We hear that a lot. In fact I hear solutions ranging from changing out their clothes for each season to complete remodels to build larger closets. What is interesting is that when you consider the #1 choice of hangers for most people, it is the plastic coat hanger. Have you ever considered the fact that a plastic hanger is 7x thicker than a wire coat hanger? Perhaps a different question is why your local dry cleaners don’t use plastic coat hangers? While many believe it is due to cost, their reason is that they would need to build a facility 1.3x larger to house the same number of articles of clothing that they currently house by using a wire coat hanger.
We call the process batting practice as it is a way of warming up before sales calls. This process has been fruitful with our teams as they have started to recognize and develop reframes on the fly to get people to see things differently all throughout the day.
In fact, for several, they have begun to pass along affirmations to their colleagues in the form of, “I never thought of it that way before,” when they have successfully reframed whatever the point was in which they were speaking. They are having fun with the process and the audience, be it customer, prospect, family member or friend, benefits as a result of the new insight.
Following is a resource you can use with your teams to practice Reframes of common everyday objects.
Share your insights on exercises you have used or are using with your teams.
Jeff Michaels is a Sales & Marketing Executive that has worked with executives, leaders, & teams for 25 years to create repeatable success regardless of industry, economy or circumstance.