Developing Your Sales Technique: From Consultative Selling to Challenger Sales

Developing Your Sales Technique: From Consultative Selling to Challenger Sales

In today’s competitive marketplace, sales professionals must possess the skills and knowledge to stand out from the crowd. As the business world continues to evolve, so too must sales techniques. The traditional approach to selling, known as consultative selling, has long been a staple in the industry. However, a newer model, called challenger sales, has emerged as a more effective way to close deals.

Understanding Consultative Selling

Consultative selling is a technique that focuses on building relationships with prospects by uncovering their needs, concerns, and challenges. This approach involves asking open-ended questions and active listening to understand the customer’s perspective. This process allows sales professionals to provide tailored solutions to meet the needs of the customer.

The advantage of consultative selling is that it fostering a deeper, more meaningful relationship with prospects. It shows the customer that you care about their needs, and you are invested in helping them succeed. With this approach, customers often feel more comfortable, and the sales process flows more naturally.

Cons of Consultative Selling

One of the main drawbacks of consultative selling is that it can be time-consuming. The process involves multiple conversations and touchpoints with customers to fully develop a relationship. Additionally, consultative selling may not be appropriate for prospects who already have a clear understanding of their needs and have done extensive research on solutions.

Challenger Sales: A New Approach

The challenger sales model is a more recent method that has gained popularity in recent years. This approach involves challenging the customer’s current way of thinking and providing a unique perspective on their situation. It involves offering insights and solutions that the prospect may not have even considered previously.

The goal of challenger sales is to inspire a prospect to make a change and to help them see the value in pursuing that change. It involves identifying a prospect’s goals and objectives and positioning your solutions as a way to meet those objectives.

Advantages of Challenger Sales

One of the main advantages of challenger sales is that it is more efficient than consultative selling. This model takes a more direct approach that addresses a prospect’s needs and challenges with new, innovative solutions. This approach quickly cuts to the core issue of the prospect’s needs, enabling sales representatives to effectively present solutions that address their needs and speed up the sales process.

Challenger sales also presents new opportunities. It helps sales representatives to present themselves as thought leaders, positioning themselves as experts in their field. This fosters confidence and trust between the sales representative and the prospect.

Which Approach Should You Choose?

There is no one right answer when it comes to choosing between consultative and challenger sales techniques. Both approaches have their unique advantages and disadvantages. The best approach largely depends on the particular sales situation and the prospects you are dealing with.

If you are working with prospects who are hesitant to change and have specific needs, consultative selling is likely the better approach. On the other hand, if the prospects are unaware of the need for change, challenger sales may be more successful in opening them up to new possibilities.


1. What is the purpose of consultative selling?

Consultative selling is a method used by sales representatives to build relationships with prospects and uncover their needs and aspirations, providing tailored solutions to meet those needs.

2. What is the key advantage of consultative selling?

The key advantage of consultative selling is that it fosters a closer, more substantial relationship with prospects and customers.

3. What is challenger sales?

Challenger sales is a newer sales model that challenges prospects to change their perspective and consider innovative solutions that they may not have considered before.

4. What is the primary advantage of challenger sales?

The primary advantage of challenger sales is that it is more efficient than consultative selling and can be more effective in coaxing prospects into making decisions.

5. Which sales approach should I choose?

The optimal sales approach varies depending on the particular sales situation. Consultative selling is better for prospects with specific needs and defined goals. Conversely, challenger sales is more successful in convincing prospects to consider alternative possibilities.

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