If you ask most leaders or decision makers, they’ll tell you that they prefer not to surround themselves with ‘yes people’. Instead, they want to be challenged. Leaders want to know that critical thinking has been put into decisions—and that there’s value coming from the other side of the table.
It’s a big reason why The Challenger Sale™, a training and sales approach based on the 2011 best-selling book, has had such success in recent years. Challenge works! However, there’s a key piece that’s often missing. Before we’re able to challenge, there has to be a relationship in place. There has to be a level of trust—it’s what allows us to challenge.
In sales or even from an internal managing-up perspective, there is so much value in challenging. It shows care, it shows thoughtfulness, it shows critical thinking and provides a valuable, different perspective. However, it’s scary. When a client says no, telling them they should buy shows purely selfish motives. If we’re able to find a mutually agreed upon goal—that’s the key. This is your Point of View, which we talk through with the Decker Grid™. When your Point of View shows overall care for the person you’re talking to, or for the end result, that’s the sweet spot.
If you get to the point where you can challenge, collaborate and effectively pushback in selling, you have become a partner and no longer a vendor. When you get to this point on your team or with your boss, you are an asset—not just an employee.
A bounce is better than absorption, especially in this case. Find ways to show value by challenging your listener to think about or approach something differently. You will see advancement in your sales, or career, or influence.
(Just don’t forget to create that relationship and trust, first.)