Great salespeople don’t just build relationships, they challenge their customers to think differently and inspire them with new ideas.

Every sales professional falls into one of five distinct profiles.

  1. Relationship Builders
  2. Hard Workers
  3. Lone Wolves
  4. Reactive Problem Solvers
  5. Challengers

Guess which is the most effective in today’s business environment. The Challengers. And the least? The Relationship Builders.

In their new book, The Challenger Sale, Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson explain how it works. Challengers teach their customers, they tailor their sales message to them and take control of the sale. Relationship Builders focus on relieving tension by giving in to the customer’s every demand. Where Challengers push customers outside their comfort zone, Relationship Builders are focused on being accepted into it. They focus on building strong personal relationships across the customer organization, being likable and generous with their time. The Relationship Builder adopts a service mentality. While the Challenger is focused on customer value, the Relationship Builder is more concerned with convenience. At the end of the day, a conversation with a Relationship Builder is probably professional, even enjoyable, but it isn’t as effective because it doesn’t ultimately help customers make progress against their goals.

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