Facilitating Success, One Decision At A Time

Sharon Drew Morgen

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Does The Sales Model Do What We Need It To Do?

changeSales has been around since the Serpent convinced Eve to eat the apple. And, unfortunately, the goals have remained pretty much the same ever since.

The sales model was designed for a different time in history, when there were fewer decision makers and products could be easily described in a magazine ad. With the advent of the web, global business practices, and the ability to communicate ideas across distances, there has been a sea change in not only what we can create and deliver, but also in the process buyers must go through prior to being able to make a purchase. The sales model itself hasn’t kept up in important ways.

Let’s take a hard look at what sales is, and how it must shift to keep up with our global economy.


1. The sales model merely manages the needs assessment and solution placement end of the buyer’s decision path.

PROBLEM: The majority of the buying decision path occurs off line (buyers must know how to manage the change, get the right people to buy in, address the implementation issues, etc.) so we are merely catching the low hanging fruit – there when they are ready to buy.

IMPLICATIONS: We aren’t entering the buyer’s decision journey early enough to become part of the Buying Decision Team (i.e. helping navigate through decision issues and collapsing the sales cycle); we sit and wait while they do their internal change management, with no direct skills to enter that area of the buyer’s decision journey.

SOLUTION: Start your conversation by helping facilitate change right from the beginning and save the needs assessment/solution discussion until the prospect sees a path through to change (all can be done on the first call); take the role of a buying facilitator and decision facilitator; help the prospect become a buyer (or not) immediately.

2. Sales treats a ‘need’ or ‘problem” as if it were an isolated event rather than recognizing that a ‘need’ sits within a system: a set of rules and relationships that maintain the status quo (including their ‘pain’) daily. Until this entire system agrees to, and is made ready for, something new, no solution can be purchased.

PROBLEM: We end up focusing on one small aspect within a sea of issues, and then pushing/waiting/pushing/waiting until they get to the point they’re ready to buy, or missing ways to support the necessary change management issues.

IMPLICATIONS: We end up presenting possibly the wrong data, too early, to the wrong people, and waste our time following around folks who don’t buy.

SOLUTION: Buying is a change management problem. We can facilitate this with an additional skill set to help them facilitate change – right from the first call.

3. Sales focuses on understanding needs and placing solutions, but until or unless all of the people who need to be on the Buying Decision Team are on board, and until all of the change management issues are managed, buyers can’t make a purchase.

PROBLEM: We are entering too early, offering data they don’t know what to do with yet.

IMPLICATIONS: The time it takes buyers to come up with their own answers is the length of the sales cycle. We end up following prospects who cannot close (and don’t know that until they don’t close) and don’t have a different skill set to open up prospects who didn’t know they need to buy, but are buyers. Plus we can shorten our sales cycles by at least half.

SOLUTION: With Buying Facilitation®  (a change management model that works alongside of sales) we can lead buyers through the decision steps, help them discern who must be on the Buying Decision Team, and become a member: we become neutral navigators rather than solution-placers.

4. We have assumed that if we can find a need, and our solution fits, that we have a sale. But if it were true, we’d be closing more, and sooner.

PROBLEM: Sales methods such as ‘objection handling’ ‘closing’ ‘getting past gatekeepers’, manage the fallout when buyers don’t buy according to the seller’s time frame. The problem is not a solution choice problem, but a buying decision/change management issue, and needs a different (i.e. non-sales) skill to manage that end of the path.

IMPLICATIONS: Because we don’t know who is a buyer until, well, until they buy, we waste over 90% of our time (and our company’s time) chasing prospects who don’t buy. And we can’t tell the difference until it’s too late.

SOLUTION: Using Buying Facilitation® you enter at the beginning of the path, and help buyers develop a pathway to handle the people, policies, relationship, and change issues necessary before they can buy. Once everyone is on board, and there is a path to a successful implementation, and everyone who will touch the solution is on board, THEN use sales – with no objections or delays.

Sales is vital. It manages the solution choice end of the buying path. It uncovers and supports needs. But it has no direct tools to do change management. We need to do more than sell. I believe the time has come to add a new skill to sales, and use Buying Facilitation® as part of your sales skills to truly help buyers buy. It is possible to eliminate objections, price issues, and closing issues, while greatly speeding up the sales cycle. Would you rather sell? or have someone buy?

To learn Buying Facilitation® contact sharondrew@sharondrewmorgen.com. For more information visit www.buyingfacilitation.com or www.newsalesparadigm.com

Read samples of “Buying Facilitation: the new way to sell that influences and expands decisions”(PDF) and “Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it.” (PDF)

Listen to Sharon Drew discuss Buying Facilitation®.

Does The Sales Model Do What We Need It To Do? is a post from: SharonDrewMorgen.com

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Sharon Drew Morgen is the visionary and thought leader behind Buying Facilitation® the new sales paradigm that focuses on helping buyers manage their buying decision. She is the author of the NYTimes Business Bestseller Selling with Integrity as well as 5 other books and hundreds of articles that explain different aspects of the decision facilitation model that teaches buyers how to buy.

Morgen dramatically shifts the buying decision tools from solution-focused to decision-support. Sales very competently manages the solution placement end of the decision, yet buyers have been left on their own while sellers are left waiting for a response, and hoping they can close. But no longer: Morgen actually gives sellers the tools to lead buyers through all of their internal, idiosyncratic decisions.

Morgen teaches Buying Facilitation® to global corporations, and she licenses the material with training companies seeking to add new skills to what they are already offering their clients. She has a new book coming out October 15, 2009 called Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it which defines what is happening within buyer’s cultures (systems) and explains how they make the decisions they make.

Morgen has focused on the servant-leader/decision facilitation aspect of sales since her first book came out in 1992, called Sales On The Line.
In all of her books, she unmasks the behind-the-scenes decisions that need to go on before buyers choose a solution, and gives sellers the tools to aid them.

In addition, Morgen changes the success rate of sales from the accepted 10% to 40%: the time it takes buyers to come up with their own answers is the length of the sales cycle, and her books – especially Dirty Little Secrets – teaches sellers how to guide the buyers through to all of their decisions, thereby shifting the sales cycle from a failed model that only manages half of the buying cycle, to a very competent Professional skill set.

Morgen lives in Austin TX, where she dances and works with children’s fund raising projects in her spare time.