People buy from people they like — we all know that old adage. All too often people purchase inferior products even after reviewing the superior product. Yes, there are reasons like price, functionality, implementation timeframe, etc that drive purchasing decisions but people underestimate the importance of the relationship in the sale.
My guess is that the relationship with the prospect is 70% of winning the deal and the product details (features, price, etc) is 30% of winning the deal. The relationship really is that important. Some companies win a number of deals because their brand and marketing muscle open the door for relationships to begin. Companies that are market leaders get 10-100x more publicity than the second place vendor, and thus get in the door even more.
The next time you win or lose a sale ask yourself how you did on the relationship building side of the equation. Was it better or worse than you had hoped? How important was the relationship in winning the deal? Almost always when I talk to sales people that just lost a deal they down play the importance of the relationship.
People buy from people they like, especially with complex sales — it’s never going to change.
What else? What are your thoughts on the percent of the deal attributable to the relationship and the percent of the deal attributable to the product?