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The Seller As Differentiator

In this short video, RAIN Group President Mike Schultz talks about how price isn't necessarily the greatest differentiator in sales—it's the seller.


Lots of people lament the commoditization in their industries.

They’ll say things like, "Buyers see us as commodities."

Interestingly enough, the truth is lots of buyers agree.

Now, given what I do, I’ve been a part of actually watching many buying processes from the buyer’s side and the buyers often say at the end, "Of the five companies we’re looking at, I actually think that three of them are well suited to do the work, but we still have to pick a winner,” and, at least in my observation, the winner is not always on price and, in fact, it's not usually on price.

So what is it then that makes one company stand out enough to win the business versus the others that are also vying for it?

It turns out it’s the seller.

In our research published in the report What Sales Winners Do Differently we studied just over 700 purchases from buyers that represent $3.1 billion in purchasing power. We essentially asked them, "What was it that had you select one provider over another?"

The top things that buyers said influenced their decision to pick the winner included superior product and service, but also that this seller understood my needs, crafted a compelling solution, was credible, educated me with new ideas and perspectives, and a host of other factors that are based on the seller behavior, not the product or service itself. And for most of these factors, the winners of the sales were more than twice as likely, and in some cases almost three times as likely, as the sellers that came in second place to exhibit the behaviors.

So, the distinction that makes for sales wins is often not the product or service itself. It’s the seller and what they do during their selling process that helps them win.

Additional Reading
The #1 Way to Decrease Anxiety and Gain Leverage in Sales Negotiations

Alison Brooks and Maurice Schweitzer, two researchers at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, conducted an experiment to induce varying levels of anxiety among negotiators.

One group was subjected to the not-so-melodious screeching strings from Psycho. The other group was treated to calming Water Music by Handel. After listening for a while, the groups were sent off to conduct simulated negotiations.

5 Sales Strategies for When Buyers Go Cold

By: Mike Schultz and Jason Murray

After three months of talking and promises of moving forward, your fully qualified, enthusiastic champion is ready to pull the trigger. You send them a proposal and…silence.

How to Maximize Prices and Improve Margins

With increased product and service commoditization, sellers in almost every industry complain about price pressure and shrinking margins.

At the same time, there are some sellers and sales organizations who are consistently winning sales against lower-priced competitors and growing their margins.

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