But none have ever been written on how to influence, understand, manage, or support the full complement behind-the-scenes, personal/policital and non-need-related elements in a buyer’s decision to purchase.
Sales books manage the solution sale: understanding needs, ‘getting in’, handling cold calls, closing, or objections. Using the phone, getting to the top people, differentiating from the competition, closing a complex sale. Pitching, presenting, postioning the solution. These books – and many written by friends and colleagues whom I respect and admire greatly – manage the solution-placement portion of the buyer’s buying decision.
But choosing a solution and provider are the very last thing a buyer does. The first things they must accomplish are not handled by the sales effort. That’s why we are in the dark so much of the time, why we guess at what’s going on, and why we don’t know where buyers go when they say “I’ll call you back.”
My new book, Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it is the first book dedicated to unwrapping, unraveling, and managing, all of the internal, off-line, private things that go on in a buyer’s environment. Unfortunately, they don’t know how to resolve these issues at the start of their journey toward Excellence:
- How are department heads working together to ensure a new solution enters without disruption, and what issues do they need to resolve to implement?
- What happens with the regular vendor if a new one comes in?
- How will the work-arounds be managed if something new is coming in to replace it – and what about the people who managed the work-arounds? or the rules and initiatives that were already in place that focused on the work-arounds?
- What happens with historic relationships? or new business partners? or comfortable marketing strategies?
- How will the tech team fight to be involved – although they are not suppposed to – and how will this be addressed?
Because sales folks work so diligently to ‘understand’ – needs, positioning, politics, competitive products – it’s unnerving for a seller to realize that this off-line activity is something they will never understand because they are outsiders to the system. Indeed, one of my ‘dirty little secrets’ is that the buyer doesn’t understand when they begin their journey either. That’s why gathering data about ‘needs’ too early in to the buyer’s decision process is an incomplete activity at best. And attempting to understand how decisions get made is specious.
The information I’m offering in my new book will act like a GPS system: the ‘driver’ puts in the coordinates to help the car get where it needs to get. But the GPS system is not driving, nor is it the car, nor the destination.
The seller can be the GPS system so long as it remains unbiased; the buyer is the car; the choice issues the buyer faces are the journey; the destination is a state of Excellence that includes a new solution. We have not understood the length or the complications involved in how buyers manage their internal decision making because the sales model doesn’t address those often unconscious choices or difficult private relationships. But until buyers make these internal decisions (with difficulty and politics and relationships and favors), they will not buy. Hence the length of the buying decision and the loss of at least 90% of prospects.
Dirty Little Secrets will give both sellers and buyers the route to follow as the behind-the-scenes decisions get made, and give sellers the capability to an unbiased GPS system. Not to have answers or solution or even understanding at this early stage, but tools to lead the navigation.
Dirty Little Secrets is about change management, how decisions get made in systems, how systems hold on to the status quo and painfully change. It will finely draw the territory of a buying decision so the route can be easily traversed. It’s about the new role that sellers can play that will truly serve the buyer with integrity and a sure hand and clear eye…. not to make a purchase, but to find all of the issues that must be addressed, OFTEN THAT HAVE NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH THE NEED OR THE SOLUTION, and certainly cannot be handled by an outsider. It’s those issues that make or break a sale.
This book introduces a decision facilitation model as a new skill set, and has a long Case Study to show just how to use it. This is not a ‘sales’ book, but a guide to helping buyers manage their buying decisions.
So: put on your Buying Facilitation™ hat and become a buying facilitator first, and then you can use all of the skills you’ve so finely honed to sell your product. Until or unless buyers manage their off-line issues, they will do nothing. And they are going to do it with you or without you.
In the end it will be easier to sell: you won’t need to ‘understand’ at this end of the buying decision – GPS systems don’t have to understand why you are visiting your Mom, or why you are taking your spouse out to dinner. But you’ll become part of the Buying Decision Team, differentiate yourself from the competition, become a TRUE Trusted Advisor, and shorten the buying decision by at least half.
Please come to the book with an open mind – not as a sales book (so you don’t try to fit it into your understanding of sales although your sales results will be greatly enhanced). I hope you like it. I do. It’s the culmination of my life’s work, and the best of me. Consider reading it in conjunction with my last ebook, Buying Facilitation™: the new way to sell that influences and expands decisions which is a companion book.
However you do it, please start thinking about sales as a two stage process: First – the buyer must get buy-in from all appropriate elements that are idiosyncratic, related to the history and system of the buyer, and non-sales/solution-related; Second – the buyer must choose the right solution that will maintain a healthy internal system. We’ve known how to do the last stage really well. Now, let’s learn how to help with the first stage.
Enjoy the book as much as I enjoyed writing it. And let the conversation begin!
Listen to Sharon-Drew Morgen speak on MaestroConference on Oct. 14 at 12P.M. PST
Check out my new book coming out October 15: Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what to do about it. Read two free chapters. Pre-purchase the book or buy the bundle.
Or have a look at my book Buying Facilitation: the new way to sell that influences and expands decisions. Click here for two free chapters. It will teach you how to understand and manage the route through the internal decision process, and is meant to be read alongside of the new book, Dirty Little Secrets.