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6 "Discrete" Steps to Close Sales

This is the Second Part of my Review of "The Challenger Sale" book. I mentioned on Part I that I'd be sharing the 3 big lessons I got from the book and that, I believe, are still relevant in today's sales practices.

Again, it is important to mention that these practices have been proven to increase the level of success for B2B Sales Reps. In my opinion, some of the recommendations and ways to approach clients can be also be applied to other types of sales and even when you want to rock a job interview!

“Disruptive change is as much about following you gut as it is about following your head”

In the book they talk about “six discrete steps” that move reps through a “world-class teaching conversation”.

They call them discrete because it must sound like an interesting or compelling story to the clients, with a little drama and surprises. A conversation where reps catch their client's attention and walk with them towards a path that, at the end, is tied to the solution they are ready to offer.

The 6-steps to Close Sales by The Challenger Sale Book

  1. The Warmer—Time to build credibility by talking about your client’s business and sharing your assessment of their main challenges. This requires for you to do your homework on your clients's business, including how you can save or make them money.

  2. The Reframe—Those challenges you identified for your client must be tied to a bigger problem or opportunity that they didn’t realized had. The goal is to catch the client off-guard; surprise them that they haven't thought of the challenges you are bringing to their attention before, get them to see their world from a different perspective.

  3. Rational Drowning—This step is about backing up what you are sharing with data, giving rational reason for why your customer should think differently about their business and in a way, make them a little uncomfortable.

  4. Emotional Impact—The success of this process also lies in your ability to ensure the clients can see themselves in the story you are telling them, so your "pitch" must be personalized to your clients' situation.

  5. A New Way—Here is where you come to show them a path that will make them better, more competitive, stronger as an organization. Without rushing, you'll take them through a a step by step review of the specific capabilities they would need to have in order to make/save more money.

  6. Your Solution—Not until this last step you get to bring what you have to offer. Here is where you demonstrate how your solution is better than the competition to prepare them to act differently.

In the book, each step is well-detailed, with strategies to tailor the conversation in case the customers are not responding appropriately, also with a few examples that really illustrated all the steps in practice.

Something else you’ll constantly read on the book “It is not what you sell, it’s how you sell it!”. These steps will get you ready to own and control the conversation from the beginning and know exactly when the best time is to bring your solution to the table.

In the next post, I'll share my favorite part of the book, which involved the role managers play in the success of the sales reps.

Stay tuned!


Mariana Jaeger is a Leadership Development and Performance Success expert and has successfully trained, mentored and coached hundreds of people in her career. To learn more about Mariana, click here

Mariana Jaeger


Austin, Texas based, serving clients globally.

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