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The Missing Part of Sales

The sales model was designed to place solutions. Good sales folks offering good solutions spend their time seeking prospects that need their solutions, yet consistently fail and waste time.

If you ask any salesperson who, of their many unclosed prospects, will close, they cannot discern the difference between those who will and those who won’t until some have closed and the others have disappeared. They have no idea which 7% will close: regardless of how appropriate a solution is for a prospect, regardless of a seller’s skill at gathering information, presenting data, or following up, sellers lose over 90% of their prospects – regardless of industry, size of sale, type of solution, or price point.

Why sales fails

What’s the problem? The problem is the focus on solution placement. The problem is that buyers don’t buy according to a solution (it’s the last thing they need). The problem is that buyers cannot buy unless everyone who touches the proposed solution buys-in to making a change, ensuring that any new solution creates minimal disruption.

The sales model was never designed to facilitate the behind-the-scenes personal issues that must be addressed before a Buying Decision Team is formed, or before the systemic elements of change are ready to face disruption.

For decades I’ve taught a front-end decision facilitation model that attains different results than using the sales model alone. A 7% success fate is unnecessary. Why do sellers continue to use their habitual selling patterns when they get such poor results – or does the field just expect it? Why does the sales profession continue to believe:

– Buyers will buy if their need matches a solution. This is false. Otherwise sellers would be closing over 90% more than they close now.

– A prospect is someone who should buy. Nope. A prospect is someone who will buy. They just don’t know how – and the time it takes them to figure it out is the length of the sales cycle. The sales model doesn’t help here.

– With the right solution, the right relationship, and professional activities and price, the buyer will choose the right seller. Nope. Until or unless all folks who will touch the solution buy-in to the new product, there will be no sale.

– A purchase is based on need. Wrong again. A sale is made only when buy-in occurs and everyone knows how to manage any change that will take place with a new solution. The system is sacrosanct.

– Sales is a numbers game. No. Sales is the second phase of a two-phased process that buyers must first navigate to be ready, willing, and able buy. And, there are 11 steps in the decision facilitation phase that sales doesn’t have the skills to facilitate.

The behind-the-scenes change management and decision issues that must be managed by the Buying Decision Team make up 90% of the pre-purchase activity. The sales model handles the last 10% and completely ignores the 90% that happens off-line.

Sellers waste over 90% of their time pushing solutions rather than helping buyers navigate their non-sales-related decisions. With a focus on first facilitating the systemic buy-in process, it’s possible to

– Facilitate systemic, criteria/relationship-based buying decisions,
– help buyers bring all Buying Decision Team members together on the first call,
– find real prospects on the first call and close 100% of them, help those who needed a solution become buyers based on their systemic change capability,
and then sell.

What do you need to know or believe differently to be willing to add a systemic decision facilitation tool on the front end of your sales model and change your results?
Sharon Drew Morgen is the thought leader behind Buying Facilitation(r), a decision facilitation model that helps buyers manage their buying decision path and in corporate strategy to manage change. Visit her at www.sharondrewmorgen.com