Selling has always been about relationships, but it is becoming more significant in today’s world.  According to a recent study referenced in this Selling article – The Relationship Imperative – product superiority is not as big a driver in customers’ decision-making process.

“Product superiority used to be a big advantage for companies,” says Jim Dickie, partner at CSO Insights. “But collapsing product lifecycles is changing that. If a competitor doesn’t have a feature or function today, they can catch up a lot faster than they could in the past.” The result: product superiority has dropped down to the number three reason companies win deals with just 35 percent of companies citing it versus 56 percent who say relationships drive their wins.

Isn’t that notable?  “Collapsing product lifecycles” is really behind this shift.  I just read an article about 5 new cell phones coming out to compete with the iPhone.  They are all touchscreen phones with many similar features.  Maybe we are trading imitation for innovation?  Whatever the reason, relationships drive sales.

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