What Buyers Say About Sales People

Peady’s Selling Engagement sponsored by IRD Prospector

I was recently read a report called “What Sales Winners Do Differently” by John Doerr and Mike Schultz of The Rain Group.


They researched six major areas:

Doerr and Schultz studied what the winners of more than 700 ‘real world’ B2B sales opportunities valued at $3.1 billion are doing to win the sale; and what they do differently than the sellers who come in second.

The entire study was focussed on selling only from the buyer’s perspective! The research makes five key points:

  1. “Solution selling” is not dead. It is still necessary, but no longer sufficient on its own. While fundamental changes to core concepts are needed, sellers and companies that dismiss solution selling outright place their sales success in grave danger.

  2. Winners don’t just sell differently, they sell radically differently than the sellers who come in second place.

  3. Winners demonstrated they understood the buyer’s needs 2.5 times more often than the second-place finishers.

  4. The top two things buyers say winners do more often than second-place finishers: – “Educated me with new ideas or perspectives”
    – “Collaborated with me”

  5. Sales winners are more successful at minimising buyers’ perception of risk.

Factors that separate the two groups

Of the 42 factors studied, there are 10 that most separate sales winners from second-place finishers.

Interestingly, buyers said “understood my needs” was the fifth most important factor that second-place finishers should change in order to win their business (in other words changing one thing would make a SIGNIFICANT difference to performance. 

The top 10 most important factors:

  1. Educated me with new ideas or perspectives

  2. Collaborated with me

  3. Persuaded me we would achieve the agreed results

  4. Listened to me

  5. Understood my needs

  6. Helped me avoid potential pitfalls

  7. Crafted a compelling solution

  8. Depicted the purchasing process accurately

  9. Connected with me personally

  10. The overall value is superior to others

When you think about it, the outcome of the report isn’t really surprising; however it’s the ranking of factors that’s most interesting. That said, the top 5 are all key factors in true sales success. 


About the author 

Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in direct sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in helping SME’s market their businesses more effectively and providing training for salespeople and sales managers.
He can be contacted at [email protected]


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