You know your territory. You memorize your conversion rates. Every time you pick up the phone or check your email, your prospects are positive, seemingly as invested in the deal as you are.

So, why is the pen not hitting the paper?

In this fear-driven market of tight budgets, many leaders are looking to upskilling and doubling down on demos training. But could they be asking the wrong questions?

Geoff Hendricks, key account executive at Challenger, suggests looking at a different foundational element.

Geoff believes sellers who are losing deals they should win should pay closer attention to the beginning stages of the sales process. On Episode 104, he joins Challenger CEO Andee Harris to discuss how the major mistakes made in the early stages of the sales process can impact close. Geoff shares his tips for heading off disaster early, getting ahead of indecision, and more when fear is at the forefront of buyers’ minds.

Listen to “#104: How Challengers Thrive in a  Fear-Driven Market” on Spreaker.

Not ready to listen right now? Head over to your preferred podcast platform and like/download the episode.

The pitfalls of qualification frameworks

When economic conditions threaten to derail a sales team’s progress, managers often step in to shepherd deals through to completion. But Geoff sees this micromanagement leading to a transactional mindset among sellers.

“They begin chasing month-to-month and quarter-to-quarter pipeline,” Geoff says. “They start discounting deals to get them across the line — deals that probably shouldn’t have ever been forecasted in the first place.”

When sales leaders feel stuck, they push sub-par deals. This may stabilize numbers in the short term, at the cost of their team’s morale over the long term.

Often, sales leaders will try to head off this predicament by adopting a qualification framework. Yet, the added paperwork can frustrate sellers just as much as it helps them.

Geoff suggests sales leaders avoid frustration by emphasizing exactly how these frameworks will help sellers build pipelines and meet their goals.

Combating indecision

Geoff notes that, previously, sellers were attempting to sway clients into selecting their product amongst a handful of their competitors. Now, the problem seems much larger and more complex: is the client going to decide at all?

If you are talking to a buyer who is below the line or part of the committee, it is unlikely they will be making the decision themselves. While they may see the intrinsic value of your product, the real decision-makers might disagree.

When your buyer does not have direct access to the budget, you will likely face financial surprises in the final mile. However, those final mile roadblocks are often obvious at the starting line – if sellers know where to look. It starts with knowing your buyer’s type.


Blockers, Talkers, and Mobilizers (and how to navigate them)

Buyer types

Challenger places buyer personality types into one of three categories: blockers, talkers, and mobilizers.

Blockers stand in the way, but Talkers and Mobilizers can seem extremely similar on the surface.

However, Talkers never sign deals. Instead, they take you to the last mile and then disappear.

Mobilizers are the buyers who sign. They have the power to close the deal and the budget to back it.

Gauge your buyer’s reaction

So, how do you determine whether your buyer is a Talker or a Mobilizer?

First, consider what happens when you offer an unexpected insight. If the buyer consistently agrees, they may be a Talker. A Mobilizer, on the other hand, will challenge your insight out of a true desire to understand.

Mobilizers look at the process of buying the product as a potential reality, so they will ask the hard questions to ensure your product fits their needs.

Multithreading and understanding the org chart

There are only a few key players in an organization that can manage internal politics, and identify and bring major stakeholders into meetings — and they’re the Mobilizers.

If you walk into a roundtable meeting with a stack of declined invites and empty chairs, you’re likely dealing with a Talker.

Multithreading helps sellers identify their buyers’ position in the org chart, and further determine whether they’re Talkers or Mobilizers. By leaning into the Mobilizers in their pipeline, they will make contact with the decision-making committee (and those that hold the keys to the budget).

Geoff’s secrets to the signature

Once you complete these processes, what’s next?

Geoff says the next step, and one of the most important ones, is to set the close date.

“So, let’s assume that we’ve done our due diligence, we have the cost of inaction, we’ve identified a Mobilizer, and they’ve got the right people involved. This brings us to a very important point: what do they care about? What is the date they need to make a change?” Geoff says.

It may be a meeting, conference, or training date they are aiming to set. Once you understand the buyer’s goals, align them with your goals and begin working back from that date.

“Consider it your kickoff moment. This is the moment you realize value. Then, there are all of these steps that have to happen before the date to make it a reality,” Geoff says.

While there may be legal or financial roadblocks, arm your Mobilizer with the information and a concrete date so everyone is invested in moving the deal forward.

Want to learn more about identifying Mobilizers and finding deals that are sure to close? Listen to the full episode of Winning the Challenger Sale where Geoff reveals more about the personas to look for, how to enable them, and more.

To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to the Winning The Challenger Sale podcast on our website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or just search for it in your favorite podcast player.


Andee Harris

Andee Harris is CEO of Challenger. Andee brings more than two decades of experience growing and scaling service and technology businesses. She has previously led multiple companies, both as CEO and Senior Vice President, through periods of rapid revenue growth, critical fundraising, and successful acquisition. These companies include Highground (acquired by Vista Equity Partners), TMBC (acquired by ADP), Syndio and Emerging Solutions (acquired by Emtec).