Focus Magazine - Fall 2015 - (Page 11)

GUEST EDITOR David Brin (left) and Troy Prehar (right) The Role of Tension Management Challengers disrupt customers' thinking rather than confirm it. Y ou know that person. e one at every national sales meeting who always makes it to the top of the rank report. It doesn't seem to matter what the market conditions are or that a large customer just moved out of the territory. He or she not only hits their forecasted number, but crushes it year aer year. More and more research points to one technique that sets these people apart from the rest-those who challenge their customers by providing unique insights. e Corporate Executive Board published the book "e Challenger Sale," in which Matt Dixon and Brent Adamson call out that customer loyalty comes less from the personal relationship, but more from the sales experience. When sales people help navigate alternative options, avoid potential landmines and educate on new issues and outcomes, they build loyalty. Additionally, these individuals are recognized elite achievers who present themselves as professionals who takes control of settings by challenging the way customers see their world, and constructively pushing negotiations. e data clearly indicates that challengers deploy these skills in a very different manner, namely in an effort to disrupt customers' thinking rather than confirm it-to deliver insight to customers rather than extract it from them. In the most simple of forms, this is a person who nudges or applies pressure with relentless persistence. Some call this application of pressure "creative tension." Enter the concept of tension management, which has always been a critical, if somewhat hidden element of the sales process. If you had a sales manager that led with a hammer, then tension meant "if you're not getting kicked out of the account, you're not pushing the customer hard enough." Still, the role of tension in sales calls for many sales professionals is avoided because of the belief that sales comes from relationships. ese relationships are what have made them successful and pushing customers will ruin relationships. Not true: Remember what makes customers loyal. e role of tension as a sales skill is not a new concept. Since the early 1980s, T. Falcon Napier established both the Institute for Productive Tension and the Tension Management Institute. Napier's tension management model is based on a sales person being able to recognize differing levels of tension with the customer and using appropriate questions/insights to elevate tension to the desired level. It's very likely that the best sales professionals have effectively sold by managing tension for years. ese reps are challenging customers' thinking in ways that makes managers and outsiders want to better understand. Navigating tension is a commonly missed competency for sales people to effectively challenge their customers. It should be noted that this competency in no way replaces the other critical skills and steps within sales models. In fact, effectively using tension to navigate a sales approach further enhances the delivery of your company's unique insights and solutions. ■ David R. Brin is Director, Enterprise Solution Selling, U.S. Division for St. Jude Medical. Email David at Troy Prehar leads a Healthcare Economics team at St. Jude Medical, previously heading up their sales and management training. Email Troy at FOCUS | FALL 2015 | 11

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Focus Magazine - Fall 2015

Focus Magazine
From the President: Training's Transformative Power
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Guest Editors: The Role of Tension Management
Directions: More Ways to Connect
Front of the Room: Delivering the Unexpected
Neuroscience: The Neuroscience of Mindfulness
AstraZeneca: Creating a Blended Learning Curriculum
44th LTEN Annual Conference: The Power of Networking
Executing a Key Account Management Strategy
Member Solutions: Managing Global Learning
The Making of Great Leaders
Developing Reps: 5 Critical Steps to Success
Reaching Potential: Two Essential Skills
Virtual How: Medical Device Training Priorities
Ad Index
Focus Contacts
5 Questions with Anthony Caliendo

Focus Magazine - Fall 2015