Facilitating Success, One Decision At A Time

Sharon Drew Morgen

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It’s the Consensus, Stupid*

aghastBuying decisions happen well before buyers consider your solution regardless of their need or the efficacy of your solution, marketing, or content. In fact, a purchase is the very last thing that occurs in a string of events buyers must handle as they seek to solve a business problem.

One of the first things they must do is assemble the complete Buying Decision Team to garner the consensus necessary for change.

Studies from the CEB show that a Buying Decision Team includes approximately 6 decision makers and untold influencers who must achieve consensus before considering how to resolve their problem, whether it’s a purchase or another fix. Let’s look at this from 3 angles:

1.      Buyers don’t initially know who belongs on the Buying Decision Team. The time it takes them to assemble the right people and hear their voices around fixing a business problem is part of the buying decision path. These issues are political, systemic, relational – not focused on need. We are not facilitating the assembly of the team.

2.      An external solution is considered only when there is consensus that an internal problem can’t  be resolved with familiar resources. We are not facilitating the systemic discovery process that has little to do with our solution.

3.      An external fix causes disruption. It’s necessary to have consensus as to when, if, or how to bring in a new solution so disruption can be either avoided or planned for. We are not facilitating consensus as it’s unique and systemic.

4.      Any solution – internal change or an external purchase – must address the change management issues that result from anything new entering the status quo. We are not facilitating change but merely offering content on what might be a solution.


Content is merely one way the decision makers and influencers can learn about possible solutions when they are ready to begin thinking about options. Other solutions being considered include internal workarounds that will manage the problems more simply. A purchase is merely the very last thing buyers consider. We are limiting our success to a small segment of opportunity and should be facilitating decisions point before pushing solutions.

We can facilitate a buyer’s consensus from sales, marketing, and social, but not with the current sales or marketing models. Add Buying Facilitation® to your sales and marketing and enter earlier by first helping facilitate consensus. It’s not sales, nor is it solution driven – it’s a change facilitation model. But buyers have to do it with you or without you. It might as well be with you. And THEN you can sell your solution.

Call me. We can add my Buying Facilitation® model to your sales or marketing solutions. Then you can influence the entire decision path, not just the back end.  Sharondrew@sharondrewmorgen.com. You can also purchase for you or your team the Guided Study & Coaching. 

*Thanks to Bill Clinton: “It’s the Economy, Stupid.”

It’s the Consensus, Stupid* is a post from: SharonDrewMorgen.com

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More Stories By Sharon Drew Morgen

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.