If you want to get results, you have to create good relations with the people around you. Our experience shows that a certain amount of tension is beneficial to drive execution processes forward quicker. You get better results if you challenge each other and make imperative demands.
In the years after the financial crisis, the consultants Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson asked themselves the question:
”Why did some sellers create top results while other couldn’t sell anything?”
The answer surprised them.
They conducted a research of more than 6.000 sellers from different countries and industries and discovered that sellers can be categorised in five different types:
- The lone wolf, the cowboy without respect for rules and with an astounding confidence
- The hard working seller, that constantly tries to conduct more calls and visit more customers
- The relation creator that tries to build strong, professional relations ahead of the sale
- The reactive problem solver, whose focus is on the after sale. He keeps himself updated on the customer and whether he/she got what he/she wanted
The challenger, that uses his/her knowledge about the industry and solutions to challenge the customers’ mindset – Even when the customer finds it somewhat controversial
The survey produced a very clear winner and loser.
40% of the sellers who created extraordinary results were challengers and they were also the ones who did best in the overall scores by far. The worst sellers were the relations builders which surprised the consultants, because for many years, the focus has been on teaching sellers to build good relations.
The Problem is tension
At Qeep we aren’t surprised about the result. The same things go for our work in business execution. It’s about getting people to decide to change the status quo.
That’s why we weren’t surprised that the challenger accomplishes better results than the relation builder. For a person to work goal oriented on creating results, there has to be a certain amount of anxiety and uncertainty. It’s scary to do something new and to tread on deep waters, but if you’re constantly operating within your comfort zone, you will never do things differently.
On behalf of input from over 100 firms, we have developed 9 principals for good business execution leadership. Here are a few of them explained.
First and foremost, you have to have an ambitious approach to business and leadership. This means that you have to set yourself goals out of your comfort zone. This is where relation builders often fail because he/she will focus on doing things in a way that feels familiar and safe.
Furthermore, you have to be courageous and ready for change. If you wish to achieve high goals, you often have to break out of your current ways of thinking. Here, the challenger is great as he is always using his insight to challenge the existing paradigms and status quo.
To sum up, the challenger focuses on pushing the costumer out of his/her comfort zone. It makes sense, because there is no need to buy a product if everything is perfect. Why do you need it then?
The challenger does this in three ways that the author calls:
- Take Control
First and foremost, the challenger uses his insight knowledge to teach and challenge the customer. For many years, sellers have focused on covering the customers need, but what if the customer doesn’t know what he/she needs? Dixon and Adamson argues that this is often the case. Therefore, the challenger focuses on getting the customer to realise and learn about a problem or opportunity they didn’t know beforehand. He doesn’t merely focus on covering the customers known needs.
At the same time, he is able to tailor his message to many different types of people. Most selling processes are more complex today than earlier. Therefore, many different decision makers are often involved. For example, The IT-man, the CFO, and the Sales Director all have to acknowledge the idea if you want to sell a new CRM-system to a corporation. The challenger is able to create consensus all the way around.
Lastly, the challenger takes control of the sales process. He is persistent and drives the process forward. It’s about making a sale and not just about having a good meeting. The challenger knows that he has challenged the customer’s paradigm and therefore he also knows that the particular solution will create value. This means that the challenger is not afraid to talk about money and therefore is constantly pushing to make the sale.
The Challenger is a good execution leader.
The challenger has the values and mindset that creates good execution leaders- in other areas than sale as well. He is able to create the necessary uncertainty and tension necessary to work goal oriented.
At Qeep we celebrate this type of humans. It is central that corporations reach their goals.