Buying Facilitation® vs. buyer facilitation

Lately, I’ve noticed folks using the term buyer facilitation. While I can make a good guess that the term is a version of Buying Facilitation™, it is being used in a ‘sales’ context. So maybe, the term is to be used in conjunction with Buying Facilitation™. After all, the buyer must manage both the internal decision issues and the need-related decision isuses before a purchase happens.

Here is a complete definition of Buying Facilitation™:
Buying Facilitation™ is a decision facilitation skill that acts as an unbiased GPS tool to assist buyers in navigating through their unique, behind-the-scenes change issues to ensure they get the buy-in necessary to bring in a new solution.

I named my model Buying Facilitation™ because it’s precisely what we need to be doing in addition to selling: helping buyers facilitate the internal, off-line, behind-the-scenes, personal decision process that we are not privy to. It manages that important meeting between colleagues over lunch, the fight that needs to be resolved between department heads before budgets can be used, the political issues that will get the right folks to meetings, that the right considerations and implementation concerns are on the agenda. We are indeed helping facilitate the buying decision, but it’s core is change management. It’s the stuff that often has nothing to do with need or solution. And the stuff that sales methods don’t address, yet needs to happen before buyers can go ahead with any purchase.

Buyers must manage their off-line, politically-driven change issues before they can consider making a purchase even if they have a need that is an absolute fit with a seller’s solution. (How many times have you seen the perfect client fail to buy? This is why.) Sales manages the tail end of the buying decision – the solution end.  Buying Facilitation™ manages the off-line, internal decision end… with a very different skill set and outcome than sales. Sellers sometimes have a hard time with this concept because they are still thinking ‘sales.’ But both models are necessary. We’ve just never had access to skills that help buyers navigate through the private stuff that goes on without us, while we sit and wait.

I asked my colleague David Deans who recently wrote a blog post that used the term ‘buyer facilitation’  if he’d give me his definition: “The context in which I use the words buyer, seller, guidance, enablement or facilitation together is totally generic in nature — relative to the traditional commercial buying-cycle.” David is speaking about guiding and enabling the buyer at the solution end of the decision. In that context, buyer facilitation helps the sellers manage the placement of the solution, and how the solution will be accepted and chosen to fill the need: in relation to other vendors, price, solutions, and solution/need fit. In other words, it’s a more specific word for sales.


For those of you having difficulty understanding the difference between Buying Facilitation™ and sales or buyER facilitation, or trying to use sales thinking instead of change management thinking, let me tell you specifically, and in far greater detail than you ever wanted to know, what I’m doing here. And for those of you who find yourself falling asleep, please feel free to stop reading. This is a level of detail I rarely, if ever, share. When I teach sellers how to do Buying Facilitation™, I make it much easier 🙂

Buying Facilitation™ is a GPS navigation tool that gives buyers navigation capability to both recognize and manage the unconscious decision issues they need to address before making a decision for a purchase or change. Ultimately (net/net) we are teaching all of the possibly unrecognized folks who might touch the ‘need’ or solution how to buy-in, to choose our solution where and if possible – a sort of  ‘influencing with integrity.’ Using it, we speed up the sales cycle exponentially, discover prospects we wouldn’t have discovered, have prospects buy who didn’t realize they had a need. We are not focusing on ‘need’ or ‘solution’ or ‘relationship,’  but on the internal stuff that only insiders know about. The personal stuff that makes our buyers disappear for so long. The policitcal stuff that makes good prospects never come back.

Here are details of Buying Facilitation™ skills:

1. Managing Internal Decision Making: I’ve coded the 3 phases all decisions go through as they go from unconscious to conscious, strategic to tactical. Everyone uses these decision phases, regardless of  the type of decision, whether it’s conscious or not, and whether it’s a personal or group decisions. These phases are written about in detail in my book Dirty Little Secrets.

2. Managing How Appropriate Factors Get Considered: Different from conventional questions that pull data, Facilitative Questions pull unconscious criteria from where it’s ‘stored’ in the brain (indexes, or indicies), using the proper words to ensure that the appropriate considerations are taken into account. To formulate Facilitative Questions demands the questioner listen for systems, not content, and be unbiased – biased only by the knowledge of systems and decision phases. Why is this necessary? Because people must pull together all of their conscious and unconscious criteria before making a decision; the time it takes them to do this is the length of the sales cycle. They need to do this anyway (We never make decisions that go against our values.). In sales, Facilitative Questions illuminate internal, private decision issues (people, policies, problems, vendor issues, money issues, alternate solution choices, rules, history, etc) that need to buy-in to any change (a solution or vendor choice for example).

3. Managing How People Recognize All Options: Presumptive Summaries help with the thinking process. They bring together the underlying messages that are a critical part of their thinking. These do not just summarize the content. They actually make conscious some unconscious choices.

4. Managing How Sellers Become GPS Systems And Change Agents: No one has ever taught us how to listen for systems. But this skill enables the seller (or coach or influencer) to formulate the Facilitative Questions and Presumptive Summaries without bias.

As you can see, the skills of Buying Facilitation™ are all based on being a neutral navigator to help Others manage the political, personal, and sometimes crazy private decisions they must address before being willing to change… regardless of their need! They have always done this off-line, behind-the-scenes; sellers have never been privy to this.

Hopefully, you can now recognize the two different skill sets, with two different results: Buying Facilitation™ manages the unconscious, internal decision issues to efficiently get buy-in for change and solution choice; and sales manages the need, the solution, and the solution placement.

I hope I didn’t bore you.  But I hope that you now understand the difference between Buying Facilitation™ and buyer facilitation, between being a GPS system to navigate private systems choices without bias, and sales which understands need and places solutions. I’m happy to start a discussion here, or contact me at


There is still time to get the freebies for: Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what to do about it. Check out the site for more details.

Or consider purchasing the bundleDirty Little Secrets plus my last book Buying Facilitation™: the new way to sell that influences and expands decisions. These books were written to be read together, as they offer the full complement of concepts to help you learn and understand Buying Facilitation™ – the new skill set that gives you the ability to lead buyers through their buying decisions. You still get the freebies with the bundle order.

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