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Christopher Thompson's Closing the Deal: 'The Challenger Sale' - a must read

November 10. 2012 9:16PM

Selling has evolved drastically over the years. From technology advances to sales approaches, there are new ideas being tested. I have always found it fascinating how there are so many different ways to reach the same end result. In sales and business, it's all about what is the most effective.

If you're reading this column, you're probably one of the many business professionals who are constantly learning and searching for ways to improve their skills and performance. It's what differentiates top performers from the average. Professional development is critical in every profession, and sales is certainly no exception.

Throughout my career, I have read countless books about sales. And you can bet there are many to choose from. If you go to and search books for "sales," you'll end up with a list of 345,622 options. That's a lot to choose from. How can anyone know what is the most effective?

I've always been a believer that sales professionals need to become familiar with multiple sales methodologies and concepts and incorporate their own style to determine what is the most effective for them.

I was introduced to a book and a sales methodology that I consider to be the latest and greatest. It's called "The Challenger Sale." In my opinion, it is one of the best sales books ever to be published.

"The Challenger Sale" was written by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson. Both are managing directors of Corporate Executive Board (CEB). CEB describes itself as an organization that identifies best practices of the world's best companies and helps senior executives and teams drive performance. You can learn more about them by visiting their website:

"The Challenger Sale" is a book, but it's also a detailed overview on how the world's most successful sales professionals continuously overachieve. It incorporates many concepts that for most aren't very new. But the book simplifies them and combines many approaches that you have probably heard before, but never really considered doing.

What I find most compelling is how they researched and categorized the various types of sales professionals. They place sales professionals into five distinct categories: The Relationship Builder, The Problem Solver, The Hard Worker, The Lone Wolf and, of course, The Challenger.

While sales professionals in each of these categories can experience success, their compelling research explains how and why challengers always rise to the top and have a greater chance of long-term success, regardless of external factors.

They also explain through their research how and why the challenger approach stands out in the minds of customers. The approach challenges the status quo and helps salespeople move past the traditional approach of selling based solely on relationships, which is something we always hear experts talk about. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say, "relationships sell." While there is some truth to this concept, it's more than that.

"The Challenger Sale" is a must read for everyone who is involved in selling or interacts with customers as part of their job. I won't continue to give details of the book away, that's for you to learn on your own. Do yourself and your company a favor and pick up a copy of "The Challenger Sale."

Don't just read it. Live it. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

Christopher Thompson's email is

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