How Much Time Do Sales People Waste?

As sellers, we waste over 90% of our time. We need to find prospects, get them bought-in to the possibility of using our solution, get them what they need to understand our solution and how it might fit, get past gatekeepers, manage objections, get to the right people who will know how to buy us, and wait. And then, we only close a small fraction.


There must be a better way to do this, no?

  1. if we knew who would be a prospect on the first call, and get rid of those who will never buy, how much time would we save?
  2. if most gatekeepers would get us to the right person, how much time would we save?
  3. if we can connect with all of the folks who will ultimately be (or are already) on the Buying Decision Team, how many more sales would we close?
  4. if there are no more objections of any kind, how much time would we save and how much more money would we make?
  5. if buyers could make a buying decision in the time frame that we believe is possible (i.e. those buyers who call up and purchase quickly are good examples of what’s possible for every sale),

how much more business would we close? And why can’t we make these things happen?


To begin with, you are beginning at the end of the buyer’s journey – the purchasing decision – and must wait while they manage the internal, systems and change issues necessary prior to any purchase. As sellers, you have been trained to find appropriate prospects: you have not been trained to help them begin or traverse their journey through the pre-sales behind-the-scenes decision path that is change-management/systems based, and has more to do with internal politics, relationship issues and time lines than it does with purchasing a solution or choosing a vendor.

As a result, you have learned ways to manage the fallout you’ve received from attempting to offer a solution at the wrong time. (objections, no call backs, stalls, no appointments, no response to appointments or proposals, unwillingness to speak, no purchase) Or from attempting to offer a solution that folks might not know they need.  Or know they need but haven’t figured out how to get buy-in. Or they haven’t figured out all of the right people to assemble for the buying decision team.

Every buying decision is a change management problem.

The only reason you aren’t closing more sales, and the reason you end up wasting time with non-buyers and delayed sales cycles,  is not because of your solution. Your solution is fine. So is your care and respect and personality.

You’re wasting your time trying to place a solution before the buyer has lined up the change management issues they must contend with. But that’s the job of the sales model. It was not invented to facilitate the buying decision path. That’s why I invented Buying Facilitation®.


Buying Facilitation® works as a precursor to sales – it is not a solution placement model – to manage the back end of issues buyers must address privately before they can buy. By starting your prospecting by first helping buyers address change issues on their way to seeking excellence (hopefully with your solution),

  • Gatekeepers will help you find the right people to talk to rather than put you off.
  • You can help buyers put together their entire Buying Decision Team on the first call.
  • You will no longer get objections (fallout from the sales model) – price or otherwise.
  • You will be differentiated from your competition immediately.
  • Your buyers will buy in approximately 1/8 the time (sometimes with very large sales the number drops to 1/4).
  • You will know who is a buyer and who is not, on the first call.

Buying Facilitation employs a different skill set; Listening for systems rather than need; formulating facilitative questions that help change rather than using questions; following a coded sequence that enables change rather than gathering information. It’s not sales. But really – do you want to keep having those super long sales cycles and getting objections? Do you really want pipelines that aren’t converting?

Read some articles on and then go to to at least read the 2 free chapters.  There is no reason you shouldn’t be doing Buying Facilitation® AND sales, and stop wasting time. The sale model is great to understand need and place solution – but by using it too early in the buyer’s change management process, you’re not helping buyers buy. You deserve better.


Sharon-Drew Morgen is the NYTimes Business Bestselling author of Selling with Integrity and 7 books how buyers buy. She is the developer of Buying Facilitation® a decision facilitation model used with sales to help buyers facilitate pre-sales buying decision issues. She is a sales visionary who coined the terms Helping Buyers Buy, Buy Cycle, Buying Decision Patterns, Buy Path in 1985, and has been working with sales/marketing for 30 years to influence buying decisions.

More recently, Morgen is the author of What? Did you really say what I think I heard? in which she has coded how we can hear others without bias or misunderstanding, and why there is a gap between what’s said and what’s heard. She is a trainer, consultant, speaker, and inventor, interested in integrity in all business communication. Her learning tools can be purchased: She can be reached at ; 512-457-0246.

1 thought on “How Much Time Do Sales People Waste?”

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