Sales Methodology only for an Innovative Product

When you are representing an innovative solution that challenges the status quo, you cannot rely on the consultative process because most clients do not realize there is a problem lurking. In particular, you cannot trust an RFP/RFQ which is designed to flush out lowest price/minimal spec. Thus, you have to rely on Provocative Selling, which has gained popularity through a methodology called the Challenger sale.

Provocative Selling is the latest gimmick to catch your customer’s attention, making them aware of problems and opportunities to improve their business. 

Provocative Selling focuses the sales person on identifying opportunities or problems the customer is unaware of. Too often, sales people respond to a known customer need, pain, problem. If we execute a consultative sales process well, we work with that customer in really understanding the dimensions of that problem, its costs and impacts, and present solutions to that known problem. Sales people need to help their customers identify what they don’t know and understand the impact on the business. Sales people need to help the customer understand problems they have been previously unaware of or new opportunities.

Provocative Selling focuses on creating a crisis. Crises are great for grabbing management attention and sometimes as sales professionals, we need to do this. But should that be the normal course of the relationship? The best sales professionals offer leadership to their customers–on an ongoing basis. They naturally help their customers think about their businesses differently and constantly engage their customers in presenting new ideas, opportunities, and ways to improve and grow their businesses. Sales people who do not do this on an ongoing basis are doing their customers a disservice.  We shouldn’t be looking to create an event or crisis, but we should nurture relationships with our customers where we are constantly advising them on improving their business. That is real and sustained value in building the relationship with the customer.

"When to use? Provocative selling is best used when selling innovative solutions that address a CEO’s top issue. Think of a revolutionary way to do ERP, 6-9 month sales cycle"