“While most professionals focus on building customer relationships, Challengers focus on pushing customers’ thinking, introducing new solutions to their problems and illuminating problems customers overlook,” according to First Impressions, a dental publication.

The magazine recently featured an interview with the VP of Sales at the nation’s fastest growing dental distributor, Benco Dental, regarding the company’s launch of Challenger training in January 2014.

In the First Impressions article, Benco Dental’s Mike McElaney said the largest privately-owned dental company in the United States plans to fully integrate the approach into its sales force in three years.

Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson developed the concept behind their 2013 book, The Challenger Sale: How to Take Control of the Customer Conversation, at their member-based advisory company CEB after they surveyed 6,000 sales professionals across geographies and industries.

They propose that salespeople fall into five categories:

  • Relationship Builders: Focus on developing strong personal and professional relationships and advocates across the customer organization. They are generous with their time, strive to meet customers’ every need, and work hard to resolve tensions in the commercial relationship.
  • Hard Workers: Show up early, stay late, and always go the extra mile. They’ll make more calls in an hour and conduct more visits in a week than just about anyone else on the team.
  • Lone Wolves: Deeply self-confident, these rule-breaking cowboys of the sales force do things their way or not at all.
  • Reactive Problem Solvers: From the customers’ standpoint, they are highly reliable and detail-oriented. They focus on post-sales follow-up, ensuring that service issues related to implementation and execution are addressed quickly and thoroughly.
  • Challengers: Use their deep understanding of their customers’ business to push their thinking and take control of the sales conversation. They’re not afraid to share even potentially controversial views and are assertive — with both their customers and bosses.

According to Dixon and Adamson, Challengers dramatically outperform the other profiles, particularly Relationship Builders.

The Challenger sale was among the topics of discussion at Benco Dental’s Sales Forum in March, whose theme was “Network = Net Worth: Today’s Relationships, Tomorrow’s Success.”

Read the full story at: http://www.firstimpressionsmag.com/benco-dental-sales-forum.html