Challengers: Don’t Confuse Teaching with Learning

Teaching vs. LearningAs a big fan of the Challenger Sale, those that follow the approach quickly understand that ‘teaching’ is a primary leg of the three-legged stool (i.e., Teaching, Tailoring and Taking Control).

For those less familiar, the premise is that the best reps [statistically] TEACH where prospects learn…not SELL…by presenting a unique point of view while offering the prospect value through that unique insight.

Not All Teaching is Good

So what is the problem? The problem tends to present itself with those that misunderstand what the Challengers knew all along…that teaching was never about the teacher.

Those that misunderstand this point and try to emulate the ‘teacher-centric’ model become so enamored with themselves being perceived as the profound ‘teacher’ with a different point of view, that they fail to recognize that nobody is learning anything at all.

As I have said before, “A person who puts their own PR before [t]eaching is merely [PR]eaching.”  (Click to Tweet)

The solution? Concentrate less on how well you’re teaching, which puts yourself at the center of things, and concentrate more on how well they’re learning. This puts your focus and attention back where it belongs…on your prospects and customers.

Prospects will never see themselves in the story you’re telling if the focus is on yourself. (Click to Tweet)

Jeff Michaels | Repeatable SuccessJeff 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.


2 thoughts on “Challengers: Don’t Confuse Teaching with Learning

  1. Maybe a better word than “teacher” is “learning facilitator” How does one become an effective teacher? What makes one teacher better than another? How do we teach people to be better teachers? I have some thoughts but I want to hear yours:)

    • “Learning facilitator” – I like it, although, my concern is not over what we call the person, but rather who is the focus in the teaching. We have all likely encountered “teachers” that are pompous, arrogant, orators whose agenda is clearly that people learn one thing…how smart THEY are as the teacher.

      My context for writing the post was in addressing those with an inappropriate understanding of “teaching” within the Challenger Sale.

      The questions and comments I frequently receive from frustrated reps claiming that “teaching” doesn’t work in sales, most commonly reveals one consistent problem. They inappropriate believed one thing…that they did their part in teaching whey they shared their insight.

      After probing each about what prompted their delivering the insight, and what they knew about their prospect relative to the insight, they confessed they knew little and were doing what they thought they were supposed to do. At best, they were the equivalent of a provocative bumper-sticker, but not what you and I would hope for from a teacher.

      As for the best and most effective teachers, you probably have better insights in that area than I do, but here is my point of view. The best, most effective teachers tend to be those that aren’t so far ahead that they are hard to follow, nor so far behind that the learner feels unsupported. Rather, they are the teachers that use their own experience, to link arms with the learner as they lead them to their own discovery and experiences.

      One final note on why I believe this disposition of the teacher is important, is that those making the learning journey with their students, demonstrates one key attribute that is all too often overlooked…it demonstrates a “humility” from the teacher which invites learning.

      I trust that provides a bit more context. Thanks for the questions and I very much look forward to learning from you and your insights.

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