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What Sales Winners Do Differently: Collaborate.

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, Jun 10, 2013

Perhaps the most surprising results from the’s What Sales Winners Do Differently research were the top two things that winners do more often than second place finishers:

  1. Educate me with ideas or perspectives
  2. Collaborated with me.

It indicates that the seller, as a person, brought something worthwhile to the table.

Do you have a sales team?  Who on your team do you feel accomplishes this consistently? 

The findings strongly suggest that solution selling isn’t dead at all.  Collaborate means “working together to achieve a common goal.   Doesn’t that sound or feel like solution selling?

Recall the chart provided in What Sales Winners Do Differently: Connectdescribe the imageThe two points above, “Educated me with new ideas or perspectives.” and “Collaborated with me” represent the #1 and #2 gaps between winners and those salespeople who finish in second place. 

A buyer, who perceives the seller brings something new to the table, it means there’s something the buyer hadn’t previously considered.  What the research indicates is that when this occurs, sellers have a huge advantage.  When done best, the right new ideas can shape the buyer’s belief systems and approaches to action.  The result, the seller has tremendous influence. 

The RAINGroup’s research discovered educating with new ideas while not a unique advantage, it is still uncommon.  Only about 21% of buyers strongly agreed that the winners “Educated me with new ideas or perspectives”, while only 7.4% of buyers felt that second place finishers provided this.  It suggests there’s room for improvement here, and perhaps the recognition of this being so powerful will provide a thrust for the sales people to take advantage of this action.  Certainly the survey results suggest they reap great rewards from being able to provide this distinction to buyers.

When the RAINGroup asked company leaders, “What’s your greatest opportunity for revenue growth?” they often say that if they could sell things proactively versus reactively to both new and existing consumers they’ll have tremendous revenue growth.

Recall from the research the three levels of selling behaviors and outcomes that set winners apart from second place finishers.

  1. Connect
  2. Convince
  3. Collaborate

Collaborating makes the seller a key component of the buyer’s success.  Just think how valuable it would be to achieve collaboration as your sales people work with your prospects to select your product or service as the right solution. 

Once the buyer sees the seller as an important member of the team, and moves the sale forward as a common goal, the likelihood of buying in general and buying from that seller increases dramatically.  It is extremely difficult to unseat that provider from the account.  This is why collaboration is the pinnacle of Level 3 Selling skills. 

No matter what industry you may be in, selling more to existing customers represents possibly your greatest opportunity for revenue growth.  Why aren’t your existing customers buying the additional offerings?  It’s usually up to the seller to create the opportunity and drive the demand themselves.  

The seller is responsible for driving demand and that requires sellers to be proactive.  They can’t inspire buyers unless they educate them with new ideas and perspectives.  If and when they do, and the buyer believes they seller is collaborating with them, ownership of the idea actually shifts from the seller to the buyer.  At this point, the idea, previously not on  the buyer’s agenda becomes important. 

The RAINGroup provides insights into bringing this all together.  First while sales people can be trained to acquire the sales skills and knowledge, capability doesn’t always mean they will actually put the skills to use in practice. Second, to build a winning sale team and train sales people at all three levels, requires coaching.  Particularly level three Collaboration requires coaching and training.  However hiring the right people is just as critical.  It’s another reason Positioning Systems recommends Objective Management Group’s sales evaluation and screen tests for candidates to ensure you have and get the right people on the bus.

Questions on What Sales Winners Do Differently?  Send me an email.

Your business requires recruiting and hiring specific talent in addition to successful salespeople.   How do you currently go about sourcing this talent.  Chances are you are going about it the wrong way. We’ll explore why your current methods are working, and why why finding sales people is often a different animal from hiring “A” players.  Next blog sourcing talent for your business, the following blog why  you need an additional set of rules and tools to finding  sales people.   

Topics: Sales Process, Objective Management Group, Sales Training, Sales Evaluation, What Sales Winners Do Differently,, Sales Candidate Assessment

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Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
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- Meeting Rhythms

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