Rowan's Reviews > The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation

The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon
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's review
Sep 01, 2012

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bookshelves: business
Read in May, 2012

Interesting psychological profiling of various personality types and how they succeed at complex sales. The main idea is that one of the types, the "challenger", is surprisingly more successful at closing deals than one of the other types, the "relationship" builder -- the guy who slaps you on the back. This isn't selling cars, this is selling complex things like enterprise software, POS systems, corporate ad campaigns (?), architecture, corporate accounting services... etc. The challenger doesn't need to be liked and is not afraid to challenge client assumptions and strategies. But this is all based in the fact the she is an expert in her field; it's not about having a confrontational approach but about teaching the client how their offering can be valuable.

The book provided only two case studies and didn't do a great job of demonstrating the challenger approach, relying more on abstractions and generalizations. It's fairly readable for about the first half, by which point it has more than made its point, but then starts to become tedious. The thinking and the writing starts to break down a bit. I don't believe I finished the entire book, though I flipped through the closing chapters.

The book is mostly geared towards the corporate "sales team" world and that's where it gets its data. However, business, technology, and creative services consultants, who are very often challenger types, may find it interesting. They may find that it reaffirms their existing methodology for closing complex deals.

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