Kevin Price, Host of the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston) recently interviewed Mike Schultz.
About the interviewee
Mike Schultz is President of RAIN Group, an industry-leading sales training and consulting firm. He is bestselling author of Rainmaking Conversations and Insight Selling, and was named the Top Sales Thought Leader globally in 2011. News outlets such as Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and MSNBC have featured Mike’s original articles and frequently quote him as an expert. His most recent research includes What Sales Winners Do Differently and Benchmark Report on High Performance in Strategic Account Management.
Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.).
RAIN Group is a global leader in sales training, coaching, and performance improvement. We specialize in helping companies unleash the sales potential of their teams.
In addition to live and online training, we are also leaders in sales research and publishing, including bestselling Rainmaking Conversations and Insight Selling, and reports such as What Sales Winners Do Differently and Benchmark Report on High Performance in Strategic Account Management.
We also publish RainToday.com, a leading online magazine that has won awards for Top Sales Resource Site globally for several years running.
We are headquartered just outside of Boston with several locations across the United States. Our international offices include Geneva and Sydney.
What type and size of companies do you have as clients?
Our clients include some of the largest and most prestigious companies globally, as well as many emerging growth firms across industries. Many of our clients come from technology, financial services, professional services, and various other B-to-B industries. We’ve worked with organizations such as Bank of America, Ernst & Young, DHL, Lowe’s, HP, Oracle, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Swiss Re, Toyota, and many other globally recognized corporations.
What comes to mind when you see this topic?
First, the Harvard Business Review published an article titled, “Selling is Not About Relationships.” That’s just silly. It’s not only about relationships, but you don’t get very far without strong relationships.
In fact, we recently studied over 700 buyers representing $3.1 billion in B2B purchases. The results are shared in our new book, Insight Selling, but relevant to this conversation: We found that sellers who win make strong personal connections at more than double the rate of second-place finishers.
But relationships are not just about personal connections. There about value. There’s a Japanese term I learned while studying jujitsu: jita kyoei. It means “mutual welfare and benefit.” The more you can bring welfare and benefit to your clients, the deeper your relationships will be.
What are the best practices when it comes to this issue?
The sellers who build the best relationships become essential to their clients’ success.
If you asked their clients, “What difference do they make for your business?”, their clients would say, “Breakthrough!”
To get to that breakthrough difference, the best relationship developers collaborate with their buyers. In our research, buyers tell us that the sellers who won their business were 2.8 times more likely than second-place finishers to collaborate with them.
When we asked buyers what they meant by this, the most common theme we heard was that it was “like the seller was on my team working to achieve mutual goals.”
To do this, sellers educate buyers with new ideas and perspectives and interact with buyers in ways that push their thinking to new levels. The sellers who do (and who make personal connections as well), are the best relationship builders.