A great excerpt from the book The Challenger Sale:
This is a great story and is exactly how people should approach selling. When I was an individual contributor, this is exactly what got my blood flowing and got me pumped up. This is the compelling element of sales for me. It’s where the challenge lies.
The senior member of the company’s sales leadership team told us the story of a rep who was struggling to gain traction with a prospective customer. The customer had just built a new headquarters facility and one of their competitors had been selected to furnish the building. The company seemd to have been cut out of the business, but the rep–a brand new hire–still felt there was an opportunity to gain a foothold in the new building before the company took delivery from their competitor. After some persistence, she landed a meeting with the company’s head of real estate and facilities.
One of the key priorities for this company was to create collaborative spaces where employees could more effectively interact with one another. In looking at the architect’s designs, she was able to tell him, “Well, we have robust data that indicates that collaboration doesn’t happen in groups of eights. It happens in twos and threes, and when you get to seven it stops being productive. You may be building the wrong size conference rooms.”
“That’s great to know,” responded the customer, “but the conference rooms have already been built. What can we do about that now?”
Leveraging her product knowledge, the rep explained how they could put up a movable wall down the middle of the conference rooms, creating two rooms that would fit smaller groups for three and four. Then she talked about a product the company offers that could help facilitate collaboration for them. She started from an insight, taught the customer about a problem they didn’t know they had, developed interest, and changed the whole direction of the account.
I love this story. I have seen it in action on more than one occasion. I’ve coached my teams to sell this way. There is nothing more effective, more compelling and more exhilarating than when you are schooling your prospect in a way that fundamentally changes the way they see their world. They win, you win, it’s a blast!
What do you think?