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Buying Facilitation

Sharon Drew Morgen wrote "Buying Facilitation®: The New Way to Sell that Influences & Expands Decisions" and "Selling with Integrity".

Has anyone read either of Sharon Drew Morgen's books?
- by SalesCoach
Sharon Drew Morgen teaches a different sales paradigm than most. IMO, she is on target with buying facilitation. Will this approach work for everyone? Maybe, maybe not. However, this doesn't mean that the Buying Facilitation Model isn't valid. - by SalesGuy
Hi folks: Sharon Drew here. Thanks for the kind comments!
Actually, I've developed a wholly original model based on helping buyers manage the entire system that created their Identified Problem. So it's a Systems Resolution Event and sellers need to learn a different skill set to manage this (the issues that created and maintain the Identified Problem keep it in place and must be resolved before buyers make a buying decision).

Sales remains a Problem Solving/Product Placement model that uses creative forms of push to help buyers understand why a particular product would work as their solution, and when it seems that the product solves the apparent problem. But it's an outside-in approach and works only when buyers decide, and sellers can never know all of the internal criteria being used to decide with - which means, the entire decision process is hidden, unique, and idiosyncratic. And not necessarily about the seller's product, or even their Identified Problem. And there is nothing sellers can do about that - hence the 90% failure rate of sales. Great products, hard working, professional sellers, good branding, integrity among the sales professionals, and then sellers fail because they can't get inside of the buyer's decision making.

Buying Facilitation demands that sellers become Neutral Navigators and use the facilitative sequence I've developed that leads buyers down through their decisioning process. After all, until or unless buyers can figure out how to manage whatever disruption will occur when something new enters (and all purchases, all decisions, require change), and can come up with their own answers, no decision will be made.

This is the length of your sales cycle - the time it takes buyers to come up with their own answers. They need to do this anyway - with you or without you. So instead of helping them choose your product, help them go through their entire decision making system (not just about what appears as the Identified Problem), and they will meld your product into their solution design. I call this Buying Facilitation and it's wholly different from sales.

This process will help buyers buy in 1/8th the time of a normal sales cycle. We used control groups for these measures in major corporations world-wide, and from banking to IT to consulting to closet systems, results were consistent over the past 17 years.

Sales is an outmoded model that was designed for different times in history. Product placement isn't good enough when the decision to find a solution is based on so many factors that are hidden from outsiders (like sellers) and independent of the Identified Problem.

Go to my site. It will help. Also, sign up for my free essays - 5 pages of original thinking a month. A bargain.

Thanks for the kind words, folks. Makes me proud to know that folks hear me amidst the clutter.

sharon drew - by Sharon Drew Morgen
Don't salespeople ask about the decision making process already? - by Thomas
Hi Thomas: great question!

here's the deal: the questions that we, as sellers, ask, are biased around what appears to us to be a 'problem' or 'pain' (i've written an article called 'Pain: Buyers Don't Have It, and Sellers Can't Resolve It') but the Identified Problem is merely one visible aspect of the system that the buyer lives within (their rules, roles, relationships, strategies, goals, feelings, history, unspoken communication over time, initiaties, etc.).

unfortunately, sales has acted as if the Identified Problem is an isolated event. at one point in history, it probably was. but not now. the questions we end up asking are only around the Identified Problem as an outsider can never NEVER understand the hidden and idiosyncratic norms within a system (group, company, team, relationship, etc) that s/he doesn't live in.

so, yes, some sellers might ask questions about the decision. but these questions don't address the entire range of elements that created and maintain the status quo through time,and need to be addressed before any change (i.e. purchasing decision) can happen. this has been the problem with sales, and delays sales cycles more than 5x.

there has been no way (until now) for sellers to help buyers recognize and address all of the hidden decisions buyers need to make throughout all of their systems elements. and the time it takes them to make these decisions is the length of the sales cycle - hence the long sales cycles and funny decisions (seem funny to us as sellers, sometimes).

Buying Facilitation codes the systems decisions necessary and gives sellers the tools to help buyers run through these and manage them, using their own internal elements that are systems related NOT problem-resolution-based, or product-sale based. it's that hidden part of the sales cycle that sellers have never been able to manage before - that place where buyers go when they say they'll call us back.

but please note: this model is NOT sales. the skills are different, the outcome is different, the responses are different; sellers must listen for different things, ask different sorts of questions (i've developed what i call a Facilitative Question which uses the actual brain function of the decision maker(s) to help lead them, sequentially, through their decision making. once the buyer recognizes all that needs to happen for them to internally and congruently resolve what is merely one aspect of their system that isn't working so well (the Identified Problem that we see) and ensure that there is minimal disruption, they can THEN be ready for a solution and will meld your product/solution into their solution design.

But it's a new skills set. and it's not sales.

Go to my site www.newsalesparadigm.com. My newest book Buying Facilitation explains the model thoroughly. Am writing a new one now about why/how the model of sales is broken and how to fix it.

Thanks for your interest. hope it helped.
sharondrew ;bg - by Sharon Drew Morgen
This week two different people who said they were going to write a contract didn't.

The first lady said she couldn't decide between our listing and another. She said she needed time to make her decision. I asked how I could help her with the decision but she didn't let me in.

The second lady who was going to write but didn't said she changed her mind and wasn't going to buy at all. I asked why and she said for personal reasons of her own and gave no other information.

Is this is what you are talking about? - by Thomas
Yes. You don't know the inner, hidden issues going on within the decision making process. Asking questions like 'why' are gathering data around a decision already made.

Once you learn Buying Facilitation, you can lead people through the entire decision making issues that need to be managed and you'd never be in a position of not understanding what is going on as you would have helped design what would happen at each stage.

You are working from 1. attempting to manage the sale; 2. the Identified Problem as an isolated event; 3. the contact person as an isolated person rather than part of a larger decsion team; 4. the decision to buy as a unique decision rather than part of a group of decisions that get made around any internal issues that need to be managed.

It's not just you - it's the entire field of sales that has the exact same problem.

The model is broken. You're great, hard working, and professional.

Hope this helps. Go to my site and play a bit. It might help.
sdm - by Sharon Drew Morgen
IMO the Buyer's model is also broken. David Sandler wasn't off when he coined the phrase, "Buyers are Liars". - by SpeedRacer
fyi - david sandler called me before he died, and tried to buy me out, saying 'I tried to get where you got and didn't go as far out of the box as you did'. david said 'buyers are liars' not because they intentially mean to lie but because they didn't/don't know how to make decisions appropriately. it's difficult to know how to include all of the systems decisions necessary when you are so close to the problem - hence, the reason Buying Facilitation is so dynamic.

of course, you have every right to believe that. it's certainly a view held by many. but if the time comes and you wish to trial another way and do a control study to see what works best, i challenge you to get the same results we get by using the conventional model. and, yes, that belief has been around quite some time within the field of conventional sales thinking.

if you're getting the results you desire, and you serve and value your customers ethically, whatever works for you is best.
sdm - by Sharon Drew Morgen
I am not challenging your model Sharon Drew Morgen.

I am saying that I believe David Sandler had it right when he said "Buyers are Liars" which I interpret to mean that buyers aren't always 100% forthcoming for reasons of their own.

Example... how many buyers want to spill their guts to a complete stranger especially if they think that the stranger (salesperson) doesn't have their best interests in mind?

In practice how many buyers walk into a sales office with a prejudice towards salespeople? A lot. I don't have exact numbers but I'm confident if someone looked around they could find different polls that demonstrate distrust for "salespeople". I think the last I read about one of these polls salespeople ranked right above or below attorneys. - by SpeedRacer
IMO, being a good listener does help lower the distrust for sales people. Also, telling stories of people in similar situations.

Susan - by susana
Yes, more times than not there are inner, hidden issues going on within the decision making process that the salesperson isn't privy to.

However, unless the buyer is willing to engage in open and honest communication and explore those decision making issues then the questions the salesperson asks are academic.

Your thoughts? - by Calvin
I agree and believe that when there is open and honest communication between the prospect and the salesperson the prospect will reveal her (his) situation with a few well designed questions. - by AZBroker
I hadn't even heard of Sharon until about a week ago when I bumped into a post on this forum. Then I downloaded everything downloadable from her site and bought the buying facilitation e-book. It's nipplepiercingly brilliant stuff.

In some aspects it's similar to Jeff Thull's stuff, but Sharon also adds some brilliant questions to the mix.

I think everyone could learn a lot from this e-book. - by Bald Dog
How is it brilliant? What is so different BD? - by Thomas
I like it because, unlike traditional selling which is really convincing people to do something - often - against their will, this process "merely" facilitates a decision-making process, and the buyer has a choice not to buy if she chooses so. There is no forceful convincing, overcoming objections and arm-twisting called closing.

it's an open discussion. That's why I like it. Hope it helps a bit. - by Bald Dog
I bought six books on selling that I'm going to be reading hopefully soon. Are any of these what you call "traditional selling"?
  1. Selling with Integrity - Sharon Drew Morgen
  2. Spin Selling - Neil Rackham
  3. High Pobability Selling - Jacques Werth
  4. Mastering the Complex Sale - Jeff Thull
  5. How To Sell Your Way Through Life - Napoleon Hill
  6. The New Strategic Selling - Miller and Heiman
- by Thomas
Due to its age, the Napoleon Hill book is most definitely traditional "manipulative" selling.

And by manipulative selling I mean selling when the prospect has no way out. When the salesperson goes in with the intention of selling something whatever it takes. I believe the Napoleon Hill book is the only book of this kind in this list. The other books promote approaches where the buyer has a say about the fate of the sales call. They are somewhat collaborative. - by Bald Dog
I have this book Bald Dog and it's not about manipulative selling. Are you a fan of Napoleon Hill? - by Jolly Roger
My apologies. I've made the wrong assumption due to the age of the book.

But if a sales book talks about "overcoming objections" and "closing", then I smell manipulation.

I'm natural about Napoleon. I like and use some of his ideas. I like his mastermind concept as he outlined in Think And Grow Rich. - by Bald Dog
Here goes with some first quick thoughts:

I agree with the other posts attesting to SDM's brillance. She definitely has turned the model around applied some real new age thinking (in the best sense of that term) to the sales process.

I had always wanted to go to one of the group tranining seminars she used to run in Austin. but unfortuntely never could afford to!

To me the crux of her teaching is to get into what is going on on the buyer's side as quickly as possible. This is done, of course, through the use of facilitiative questioning and her "funnel technique" which I have to say I never felt I really ever got.

The questions are key and, honestly, although working in as best of a facilitatve question mode as capable, never am 100% sure I'm asking the best questions to move the process along as quickly as possible.

In an earlier post, someone said never ask a question starting with "why". That is true, I also believe.

It seems from studying the samples SDM has provided over the years, particularly in her monthly commentaries, the reading of which is an education in itself, generally is to start facilitative question with "how".

I guess there's alot more to say. But I hope this is good as a start. (I'm not someone who necessarily enjoys writing; so I try to do as little as possible.)

For the sake of our thread it is also probably for the good to remain succinct & concise.

Thoughts and/or comments? - by steveorbach
How are facilitiative questions different from SPIN questions? - by BossMan
Isn't that the truth? - by steveorbach
Sharon Drew, in "Selling With Integrity" you wrote, "A prospect either needs to purchase an external source or not, is ready to bring in an external solution or not."

That looks like you are narrowing your focus to those prospects who already want what you have to offer. Isn't that like high probability prospecting? - by Mikey
hi folks: sharon drew here. just wanted to add a slight bit of clarity to some of the conversations about my work and about Buying Facilitation. as sellers, we've been working for decades trying to problem solve so we can place product. but both are outside-in activities. the reality is that whoever and whatever helped the potentially solvable (by us) Identified Problem needs to be reconfigured before anything new (i.e.a product purchase) can happen.

Let's take something simple like a new hairstyle. unless you live on your own and don't care what your friends think, before you radically change your hairstyle you're going to ask friends and loved ones 1. what they think; 2. if they'd mind, 3. how you'd look. you would need to understand that the new 'do' would give you the look that you wanted,and that outsiders would see you in a certain way that you see yourself. so the decision is NOT about the hairstyle or the hairdresser or the scissors or the salon. it's an internal decision that has a certain set of criteria that is personal, unique, idiosyncratic and would never fully be understood by an outsider.

for decades we've closed no more than 7% (appx) of sales.that's because we can only find buyers who 1. are actively seeking exactly what we have....and have already gone through some of the internal decision making stuff they need to do anyway...; 2. are ready to buy. all of those folks who need our product but either don't know how to buy without making an internal mess, or aren't ready to buy for same reason, or don't even realize they need to do something different because they are so ingrained in maintaining the system they live within...

selling a solution is only the last phase of the sales cycle, and we've never been able to be involved with the first phase that buyers need to go through anyway. BuyingFacilitation codes the linear steps that buyers MUST GO THROUGH ANYWAY before they make a decision. they need to do this anyway - with you or without you. Buying Facilitation gives sellers the tools to teach buyers how to recognize and manage all of the aspects of the internal decision that need to be made - the people,politics, relationships, rules, roles, etc.

i'm giving the seller an entirely new job; a neutral navigator. first you help the buyer do this, then you can sell.]

one of the questions we asked while working with one of the large banks, while seeking interest for small business bankers who originally went to face meetings before using BF and then only going to those who were ready/willing to buy:
How are you and your decision team thinking about adding new banking resources for the time when you are going to need additional services that your current bank can't manage?

that is very different from 'selling' an appointment or a banking solution. it starts the conversation by helping buyers make the first decision they need to make anyway.

btw i'm teaching this material in a public training may 14-16 here in austin. you could potentially come to the first 3 days of the licening program i'm running - www.newsalesparadigm.com/austin_0507.htm.

let me know of interest. sdm@austin.rr.com - by Sharon Drew Morgen
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