What’s Effective for Complex Sales Presentations

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Recently, the Sales Executive Council conducted a study on sales approaches, and discovered that the most effective approach when addressing complex sales isn’t simply developing relationships any more. Rather the most effective sales person challenges the customer to fully appreciate issues affecting the business and engages in conversations that encourage the customer to stretch his/her thinking to adopt the best possible solution for his/her unique situation.

The Challenger’s presentation incorporates three key elements:

  • Teach for differentiation – engaging in a robust dialogue concerning the customer’s business from the perspective of someone who services the industry, he/she reframes the way the customer views his/her business and needs.
  • Tailor for resonance – using the Challenger’s superior sense of economic and value drivers, he/she delivers the right message for the customer based on his unique situation.
  • Take control – feeling comfortable talking about the issues and money, the Challenger can press the customer a bit to focus on long-term value rather than simply short-term costs.


These findings are consistent with our ADAP formula for winning presentations. Recognizing the customer’s true needs, he/she authentically presents the information in a way that resonates with the customer’s larger needs, and directs the discussion to the specific end he/she had in mind.

Most sales people want loyal customers and believe that its product development and support after installations that generates it. In fact, loyalty is won by the sales person him/herself by challenging the customer to be the best buyer he/she can be. It’s how you sell, not what you sell that contributes to this form of dedication. This is accomplished when the sales person:

  • Offers unique and valuable perspectives on the market
  • Helps the customer navigate alternatives
  • Provides ongoing advice or consultation
  • Guides the customer to avoid potential land mines
  • Educates the customer on new issues and outcomes.

So, make a commitment to become a sales Challenger and win more deals and build loyalty for future business as a trusted advisor, and not a transactional sales person.

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