Sales Leaders were gathered around the conference table to debrief the progress of each respective team’s reps in The Challenger Sale.
There were some great successes shared, with one story of a Relationship Builder who was consistently ranked last, rising to #1 for the last 7 consecutive months. All because she changed her behaviors.
The discussion then centered around those reps that have yet to embrace the Challenger Sale. It was a few minutes into the debrief and diagnosis when we realized we had fallen into the very trap we were advocating against…
Battling the Status Quo
It wasn’t that the sales reps struggling with the Challenger implementation were blatantly resistant to change. They just weren’t sure it was necessary. Their performance was relatively strong, with nearly all achieving quota. Yet there were points in their daily discussions with prospects that were not effective. Their leaders knew it and they knew it.
Reps would approach their respective sales leader with the problem…or vice versa. The leaders would then point to the corresponding Challenger behavior that would address the problem, then coach to the behavior.
Seems reasonable, right? Wrong! We were circumventing the process in order to speed up coaching and performance. They had a known problem. We had the solution. The Challenger Sale!
A New Way
At the heart of the matter was that the reps with their very legitimate problems, were hearing the ‘solution’ from their leaders. In the Challenger choreography, this is the equivalent of going straight from Warmer to Our Solution. See my previous post on the consequences of doing so.
When we don’t adjust our prospect’s thinking (or in this case, our reps), and expose the problems with the status quo, we fail to ripen their appetite for a new way. For these reasons, the Reframe followed by Rational Drowning into Emotional Impact are critical, especially when teaching new behaviors.
When coaching, don’t assume you can jump to the solution because reps have sufficient information. What is not needed is more information. What is needed is a different way of thinking about their problems. Therefore, always follow the choreography. The choreography’s brilliance is that it uncovers and exposes faulty beliefs. Beliefs that lead to complacency in the Status Quo zone.
Take the time to do it right by setting a foundation for a reason for change. Then lead them as a Challenger would do. As a leader, you will benefit by reinforcing your Challenger behaviors (not theories). Your reps will benefit from seeing it in action and the effectiveness in bringing about change.
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.
2 thoughts on “Challenger Tip: Practice what you preach when coaching”
“When coaching, don’t assume you can jump to the solution” This is so true!! and a good reminder as we always want things to go faster, we jump to conclusions and solutions. Thanks Jeff for a great reminder and tip.
My pleasure, and thanks for your comments.