Sharon-Drew provided Qvidian’s Connect11 attendees with a very engaging, thought provoking and interactive session focused on leveraging Buying Facilitation® techniques to help manage the buying decision path earlier, and thereby drive higher win rates and increased sales effectiveness. Prior to the conference she spent quite a bit of time doing research and speaking with a few of our clients to make sure she had a clear understanding of our needs and possible solutions for us. We learned a lot, and were able to use her ideas to help us respond to our clients better.
Three months ago we were a successful business in our ninth year. Even in the midst of the recession we were making profits, which for company in the training sector was great, but……
Making new sales was very hard work, it always had been and we’d never in nine years been able to create a steady stream of predictable sales. Our solutions are loved by clients (200 of the UKs leading organisations). Almost 90% of them renew their license. So clients love the leadership and management toolkits, but new business took too long and often we didn’t really know what was actually happening in terms of progress. To paraphrase a typical prospect “this is a fantastic solution, I’m really interested”, but then nothing happened. We struggled to find a compelling reason for the prospect to move.
We brought Sharon-Drew to Edinburgh for a week and started to train the team in Buying Facilitation®. I wouldn’t pretend it was anything, but a tough and difficult week as we all had to go back and question our mental models of how we listened, regarded change and approached developing new business. Throughout the week Sharon-Drew challenged and supported us with huge personal commitment and respect and for the following 8 weeks she coached and cajoled us as we took Buying Facilitation® on board.
- We used to think you had to get meetings to sell – now we phone people up and have great conversations and we’ve closed new business without ever meeting the client.
- Sales used to take 3-6 months – now we’re closing sales in 3-6 weeks.
- We didn’t know where the sale was with the prospect – now we are part of the buying team and are fully informed.
- Price was thought to be the issue – now we are finding far less price sensitivity.
- We couldn’t predict sales – now we have a strong predicable new business pipe which is closing regularly.
Would I hire Sharon-Drew again? Without a moments hesitation!
– Peter Casebow, CEO GoodPractice
After having used your methodology for many years in multiple settings, I felt compelled to share with you my experience utilizing your facilitation process. I’ve read two of your books and attended one of your workshops, so I feel I have a reasonable understand of your strategies.I first used your facilitation method while a recruiter then later in executive level business development. The recruiter role is a pure sales role where I had to sell on both sides of the selling equation, the hiring company and the job applicant. Utilizing your questioning framework allowed me to rapidly understand the documented and hidden position requirements from the hiring manager. Questioning and listening in this manner also achieved competitive differentiation from my competition.
In executive level business development, your facilitation methodology again proven critical to establishing strategic partnerships with companies that were often several times larger than the firm I was with at the time.
When I was Director and VP of Recruiting for companies like HP, Fidelity and IDG, I used the facilitation methods to solicit the real position requirements from hiring managers, even at the senior management levels. The Morgan Facilitation method of questioning and listening also proved valuable when convincing candidates to accept jobs we had offered.
While you may have first developed your methodology for sales, it has proven quite valuable whenever I needed to question and listen for what was really going on with an individual or an organization.
Bravo and thank you so very much for your wisdom and passion with which you share it.
– Michael R. Neece, Founder & CEO InterviewMastery.com
My sales cycle time used to average 9 months. Using your method, I got a new client within a WEEK of my first meeting with him.
– Barbara Heyn, Atticus Consulting, LLC
“Selling with Integrity describes the first new paradigm in sales. It offers a model for how to bring sould into sales, and teaches the hands-on skills to do it.”
– Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul.
“Finally, a sales paradigm which supports our spiritual values and lays the foundation for the paradigm shifts occuring in business today.”
– Ken Blanchard, coauthor of “The One Minute Manager”
“Morgen has done it again – described an exceptional approach to selling and made it clear and concise. Read this book [Selling with Integrity] and practice what’s between the covers. It will make your next sales call the most successful in your career.”
– Larry Wilson, author of “Changing the Game”
“Morgen’s Buying Facilitation® is light years ahead of the rest of the field.”
– Philip Kotler, author of “Marketing Management”
William Blair and Company is a 75 year old investment banking and management company in Chicago. My team supports a group of investment professionals who primarily concentrate on managing growth equity portfolios for high net worth individuals and small institutions. Our task is to enable them to become true “advisors” as opposed to strictly portfolio managers. This is done by researching and hiring managers, funds, and investment opportunities from other companies who’s expertise will complement and enhance our advisors ability to provide their investor clients with truly diversified investment solutions based upon the clients unique circumstances and appetites.
While this approach makes sense in many ways – especially to the client – it has been difficult to integrate new learning around actually helping buyers make decisions into the culture of the firm. Our advisors are deeply rooted in very traditional sales methods of open – present – close (and hope for the best). They have also become very ingrained in playing the role of “expert” without recognizing that buyers don’t buy until they are ready no matter how “expert” the advisors are. While the old way certainly works some of the time, fierce competition for these clients demands a different approach.
Buying Facilitation® has helped us in two important ways. First, key members of my team have been trained by Sharon-Drew. With that background we have been able to walk advisors thru a decision making process to determine what the clients would need on the product side, Buying Facilitation® teaches them how to work with the buyer to design unique, appropriate solutions that they would be willing to buy from us. As a results our advisors have been able to expand their practice and build meaningful leverage and growth. Our entire manager-of-managers platform has been developed based on what the advisors have gleaned from this collaborative decision making approach (Buying Facilitation®) and as a result we know how to help them to compete effectively for HNW clients in today’s marketplace.
Secondly, and this is where the long-term benefits are really beginning to pay off, our using Buying Facilitation® instead of conventional sales helps the advisors see that their deeply rooted “open-present-close-hope” sales methodology is not consistent with being a trusted advisor as much as it is with being a “broker” (a term they despise). Some of the braver members of the group are actually involving a member of my team (trained by Sharon-Drew and using the collaborative decision making of Buying Facilitation®) to help buyers recognize their own criteria and figure out how to make their best decision using us as their supplier – all of this, early on in the sales cycle with their clients and it is providing them with success much earlier, and with more prospects, than they would normally have achieved using conventional sales methods. And it has been a very positive reaction. We are just now beginning to see the guard come down and the realization set in that this stuff works! It has been difficult given the cultural shift that has been required but things are indeed moving forward at a more rapid pace than ever.
We are still at the “aha” stage for the many. But as they see the power of helping clients make their own decisions rather than having to be the one with all the answers they are becoming more open to our advice and coaching. There is tough work yet to be done, but the skills we have developed thru Sharon-Drew’s program have helped us become true agents of change, which is rewarding.
– Jim Vaughan, VP Marketing, Operations (High Net Worth),
William Blair Select Investment Partners
Sharon-Drew’s Buying Facilitation® experience shifted us from “being smart” to “being interested” with the result that prospects and clients share more information faster, we write better proposals, and we move forward faster, together. Our business has tripled during the last ten years; Sharon-Drew’s Buying Facilitation principles and techniques have been a significant foundation for our growth.
– Nick Miller
President, Clarity Advantage Corporation
Thank you for a great workshop in Austin. I have attended many training courses over the years, but never one that I felt was as interesting or engaging as yours, not to mention valuable.
– Norman E. Tyrrell
Thank you very very very much. The first is for making the discoveries you have made and are making. The second is for persisting in trying to share them. The third is for teaching me with such love.
Of course, it all feels strange and unnerving. It is uncomfortable to
discover I have been doing so much so incorrectly for so long. My first
priority is to become competent in your methodology. I have your suggested program. I need to experience its effects for myself.
It is obviously deeply frustrating for you that the world is being slow to
embrace Buying Facilitation. This is a burden you are carrying for the
benefit of people like me and others who will (eventually) lead better lives as a result. It is Dhamma applied to business, in my view.
– Richard Starkey
CEO Greengourmet, Ltd, UK
Sharon-Drew Morgen’s Buying Facilitation® method makes believers out of those who hate sales. I have found it to be a terrific way to
improve my sales efforts and those of small business owners who hate
the whole sales process. It puts the emphasis in the right place – on
the situation in which the buyer finds himself or herself. It also
prevents “sales burnout” because it keeps potential rejection down
and acceptance up. I highly recommend this to anyone who really and
truly believes in serving people – whether they become customers or
– Jan F. Triplett, Ph.D.
COO Business Success Center
Sharon-Drew has refined her years of study, training, and experience to offer us a compendium of wisdom on “hearing what’s intended without misinterpretation.” She provides an integrated system of communication patterns that explains why we hear what we hear and how we hear it.
Written with personal warmth and vulnerability, this gift of a book invites us as readers to look at the choices we make, reactions we have, and the outcomes we produce as speakers and as listeners. Several features in What? Did you really say what I think I heard? stand out for me. One is the quality of her questions. Each one, and there are many, offered me access to a rich trove of insights into my own communication successes…and failures.
Another is her savvy synthesis in to a set of rules of what it means to truly hear. I found myself challenged as they revealed my responsibility to hear without misinterpretation and to communicate so that my listener’s response matches my intended message.
Finally, I am interested in the deeper nuances of language and how it translates our internal experience into external behavior and its consequences. For readers like myself, this book stimulates new distinctions that can only empower the impact of our communication. You can read it at a number of different levels—for the ideas it provides, the skills it instructs, and/or the approach to life it offers. I have benefitted from each of these levels and would invite you to do the same.
– Gene Early, PhD. Partner, Leaders’ Quest; Author of Three Keys to Transforming Your Potential
This is a wonderful, comprehensive, instructive, and powerful book on the crucial skills involved in listening. Buy it, read it, apply it — and watch your communication effectiveness soar!
– Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D., author The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help – or Hurt – How You Lead
Understanding people better is critical to both our personal and professional lives. I’ve been a student of what makes people do the things they do my entire life. This book is that rare gem, something new, insightful and powerful.
What Sharon-Drew Morgen offers is unconventional, practical and necessary. If you read only the part that discusses the four categories of filters – triggers, biases, assumptions, and habits – you’ll be grateful. But if you really want to make change to avoid any misinterpretation – in meetings, sales calls, fundraising events – read the whole thing. She will actually teach you how to collaborate effectively all the time. Don’t sell yourself short. Buy the book and read it.
– Jeffrey Eisenberg CEO, BuyerLegends.com, Author of New York Times bestselling books Waiting For Your Cat To Bark? and Call To Action
Communication is something all of us do. Most of us think we do it well. In her new book What? Sharon-Drew Morgen provides an educational, witty, and intelligent exploration of how what we hear isn’t always what’s been said or meant. She shows us how our unique filters bias our understanding in conversations, restricts creativity, and affects both personal and business relationships. Not only does she explain how our brains cause us to bias and mishear our communication partners, but she offers us a new model that teaches us how to overcome the problem, regardless of the context of the interaction. If you seek understanding, leadership, collaboration, and authentic communication regardless, I urge you to make What? your handbook for understanding what others mean to convey.
– Ardeth Albee, B2B Marketing Strategist, author of Digital Relevance
In an age when tweets and texting pass for communication, Sharon-Drew Morgen does us all a service by focusing in on the real skills needed to engage in authentic conversations, meaningful listening, and deep personal and business connections. A must read for 21st century communicators.
– Anne Miller, Presentation Consultant and Author Metaphorically Selling
This book is truly remarkable and should be read by the largest audience possible as your message is a critically important one; one that will help people improve their relationships, careers, and lives. The examples are not only relevant but relatable, recreations of my own experiences with my wife, but clients as well, with simply the names changed. In fact, as a consultant, I’ve noticed communications issues like those in the stories happen frequently with severe consequences: ‘career limiting events’ (people are deemed unpromotable because they don’t hear others accurately), lost sales, damaged relationships, etc. all because of commination perceptions. And we all seem to make these communications mistakes over and over because of our own persistent filters that we can’t get beyond. I and people like me need this book. We also need the reflective questionnaires throughout – great rest stops to challenge us to be reflective and to understand the application of the concepts. Indeed, this book shows us how to recognize our own shortcomings and go down the road to improvement. This book changed my life; everyone needs to read it.
– Nathan Ives, Publisher StrategyDriven Magazine.
Sharon-Drew Morgen has written a brilliant book that will completely reframe, renew and reenergize what you think you know about communication. If you care about clarity, understanding and influence you should not miss reading this ground breaking book! It’s not only a game changer, but will shift how we perceive communication and hearing others for decades.
– Chip R. Bell, author Managing Knock Your Socks Off Service
Words are a powerful medium. How you use them both in spoken and written form can bring you close or separate you from others. How you listen to the words of others is paramount to your success in business and in life. Sharon-Drew Morgen has great insight into communication and her lessons will challenge you to rethink your communication style to achieve the success you deserve.
– Willis Turner, CAE CME CSE, President & CEO, Sales & Marketing Executives International, Inc.
Seeing your newsletters brought forward some things we may not have focused on in a while. May I take a few more moments and go further with some really nice thoughts about some of the changes here since my wife and I took your program ?
- We’ve gone from chasing business to bringing it to us, using variations of what we learned from you in each interaction with those we serve.
- We ask a lot of questions, focusing in on what the customer wants & needs and make a determination on the next step from their view and if a match exists with their needs and our products and services capabilities.
- We’ve learned to, in a moment, be able to determine if there is truly a fit, if the customer perceives value in us, if so we move forward, if not, we wish them well in their business. It all appears to be working, but so easy to fall back on old habits. Keeps us alert. Always a work in progress !
– Steve Manuel
After reading Sharon-Drews book ‘Selling with integrity’ I decided to train with hear and learn not just the ideas but also the practice of selling with integrity. I was up for a big surprise. Not only did Sharon-Drew show me what I missed when reading her book, she also demonstrated in person to what extend Buying Facilitation helps a person to serve his or her best interests by serving those of others. It was not an easy thing to learn, but once apprehended this paradigm has really changed my life emotionally, psychologically and financially. I recommend to everybody the EXPERIENCE of being able to see, feel and probe beyond the limited scope of our self appointed world to which we tend to refer as ‘the’ world. It will open your eyes to the reality of other peoples goals AND to the obstacles stopping them from achieving their goals. This ability can be learned and in doing so you’ll reach any social goal with greater satisfaction in much lesser time. Don’t cheat yourself out of the opportunity to train with one of the great minds of our era. Buying Facilitation really delivers.
– Cees de Bruin
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
About a year ago I picked up my first copy of your book, Selling with Integrity, and almost immediately read it cover-to-cover. It immediately made sense to me. Since then I have purchased several additional copies and given them to friends and industry peers with whom I have shared your ideas. I had always wondered in the past why the “sales” process had to be so ‘aggressive-defensive,’ rather than based on genuine solutions and the best outcome for the client.
You’ve answered my time-worn questions, and did so with eloquence and clarity. Thank you for your inspiring insight and understandable presentation.
After spending several years in the insurance industry, I can readily think of innumerable instances when your collaborative process would have better served the client, while creating a stronger trust relationship between/among the parties. Obviously, the producer/salesperson was not trained in your methods…if she/he was trained at all.
I also teach in the insurance industry, and know experientially how much this industry, as well as many others, are lacking in an ethical, relationship-based approach to serving the needs of those who give them their trust. I sincerely hope you have started a revolution…
– Jim Jackson, CIC, CRM, CLU
Resource Management Consultants
San Antonio, TX
I highly recommend working with Sharon-Drew if you ever have the opportunity. She is a genius; when you learn from her, you will have the opportunity to live your life at a whole new level. If you are a manager and have your people train with her, you will get your team to a whole new level. You can’t learn it from a book, and it’s going to be hard work – but if you take it in, you will have skills almost no one else in the world has, and you will be able to make a bigger impact on the world, whatever you path is.
I read Sharon-Drew’s book “selling with integrity” sometime in 2002-2003. Without knowing exactly how things worked, I could put some of the facilitative questions to work immediately. And even though I used the wrong words in the wrong sequence, I still had some partial success already from the beginning. But it was a hit or miss.
I attended one of her public Buying Facilitation® trainings in London. From the training I learned how to formulate the real Facilitative Questions so I could know the right words to use, the right sequences to put the questions in. And even if some of the concepts and words/semantics were difficult to translate into Swedish, I learned to listen for things I never had noticed before. I’ve never heard of things such as meta messages before, and had never thought much about what was not being said and what might have caused someone to say something in a specific way. This gave me new skills in communication, not only in sales, but in every communication involving change, with friends and family and even my own personal development.
The results are spectacular. I save a lot of time compared to “traditional sales” methods. When I was the sales manager at HP Software in Sweden I could both manage my team AND sell more than the full team did together. I’ve found that with BF my selling is more targeted, I save time, and with these questions I am able to help people who I thought were throw-aways to determine that they could actually use my solution. Using BF, brings the Buying Decision team in early, and when there isn’t a match, I’ve learned to know very quickly.
Buying Facilitation® is not a sales process. It’s a change process. So it works in tandem to any sales process you might have in place already. But without change, there will be no sale. I’ve learned to use BF not only for sales, but for team communications, internal change work, company acquisitions, and even more in my private life. It’s a different skill, one that you can use in all parts of your life, with integrity.
– Ted Elvhage
Managing Partner, Edge Venture Capital
Thank you so much for this newsletter. My company is a very small community-based health and medical education company that specializes in HIV and hepatitis. We have a high ethical standard around our work and our product, yet I think that the discussion and questions you posed below about developing a culture of ethics across the board in the workplace would be of value to us as my company grows (if we grow). Your efforts here are a community service and I just want to thank you again for taking the time, energy and interest in helping readers process through this topic.
– Lillian Thiemann
Visionary Health Concepts
Keep up the good work. I will keep you in my prayers if you wish and will definately pass the info on your book along. If it is anything like the last one it can be applied by anyone in all of life’s dealings.
– Cynthia Mann
It’s never easy to change the world, but you ARE doing it. To paraphrase something we’ve heard many times before:
From those who are given much, much is expected. You have been given a gift. Thank you for sharing it.
You are speaking a truth that many people want and need to hear. If you can change the entire world of sales I could not be happier!….. [I spoke with ]… a woman who said your 3-day training was the most motivating event she had ever been to! Thought you might like to hear that.
– James Carter
Anyway, to answer your question regarding the newsletters. I read each
one from beginning to end for the most part. They never fail to teach me
something new or RE mind me of something that I had learned and
forgotten. I’ve read and re read your book “Selling With Integrity” and
this exercise results in the same net affect. I always learn something
new or am reminded of something that I should still be using or at least
should “re visit” and look for its new value based on today’s situations.
So, a HUGE thanks to you Lady for your hard work and willingness to share
your thoughts, ideas and experience.
– Tom Fulmer
I read your book Selling With Integrity and found it very interesting. After reading many sales books, I found your approach refreshing, true, and rewarding. It not only has helped me sell my own services better, but also has enabled me to help others have greater success when selling ideas.
I’ve found your work very helpful in terms of improving organizations, serving clients, and building business. All improvements involve ideas and getting people’s willing commitment to them. Your newsletter keeps reminding me of the importance of being of service and helping people make good buying decisions–not cramming things down other people’s throats because we think it’s the right thing. People tend to do this with ideas as well as products and services.
– Barbara Wirtz
What I get out of your newsletters is encouragement to hold to my values and my feminine side and not seek a close or a kill in the male dominated environment that I am in no matter what happens… The newsletter stimulates my thoughts and reminds me to go back to the funnel
– Louise G
Let me take this opportunity to thank you for Selling With Integrity and for your continuous reinforcement through your Newsletters. Buying Facilitation has offered me a way to live my values in the sales arena and a way to actually enjoy sales calls. I was unable to do these two things in the past.
Thank you for your message. I hope the rest of your UK trip was successful and productive. I really enjoyed your session – and as I said that evening, I used the approach the very next day with a potentially large client. So far it hasn’t provided tangible results – but it was such a great experience for both me and the client. I know it really helped her with her thinking about how to tackle her teams development needs. It was so much better than my usually clumsy attempts at being a “salesman”. (Due in some part to having been a buyer for 17 years! )
I’m going to persevere with facilitating the buying process – NOT selling. Thank you for giving me that powerful possibility.
– Tim Edlund
Firehouse Europe Ltd