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Over the past year, I’ve written several columns on sales differentiation. Within those, I’ve shared why sales differentiation is important and presented strategies and techniques to incorporate it into your selling repertoire.

What I have not yet addressed is what makes differentiation so daunting for salespeople. It’s is the process people use to make buying decisions.

With anything we buy, we try to commoditize it. In essence, we create a matrix either on paper or in our minds. Within the matrix, we list the supplier options and our decision criteria. We seek to purchase from the supplier with the lowest price that meets the criteria in that matrix.

I’m not just referring to corporate buying decisions. Consumers also use a buying matrix to help them make decisions. This matrix is the arch enemy of sales differentiation. Buying matrices attempt to commoditize such that the lowest price meeting the specified criteria is selected. The matrix rebuffs all attempts for suppliers to be different as “different” doesn’t fit in the matrix cells.

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Lee B. Salz is a leading sales management strategist specializing in helping companies build scalable, high-performance sales organizations through hiring the right salespeople, effectively onboarding them, and aligning their sales activities with business objectives through process, metrics and compensation. He is the Founder and CEO of Sales Architects, Business Expert Webinars and The Revenue Accelerator. Lee has authored several books including award-winning,  best-seller “Hire Right, Higher Profits.” He is a results-driven sales management consultant and a passionate, dynamic speaker . Lee can be reached at or 763.416.4321.