The Basis of Sales Has Remained Stagnant

Did I get your attention? Good. Because I’m serious.

Most of you would laugh, tell me I’m wrong, that the sales model has been shifting and that the Internet has ‘changed everything.’  But what, exactly, has it changed?

I believe that basically, sales has not changed since the beginning. Sure, the bells and whistles have changed: it’s far, far easier to get leads and interest; it’s much simpler to get your message out; it’s much quicker to find out whatever you need to find out about prospects. It seems to appear as if buyer’s buying decisions are different (they aren’t, we just know more).  But all of this leads to… leads to what?

At the end of the day, the buyer still has to buy. At the end of the day, until the buyer says ‘Yes’ and gives you a check, you haven’t made a sale. And all of your permission marketing, spin, digital body language, lead generation, and understanding of who and why and when and if a buyer buys,  does little more than find the prospect, follow the external activities of the prospect, and then hopes – yes hopes – that the buyer will come back and choose you.

What the sales model still does not handle at all is the How.

  • How does the buyer recognize and manage all of the internal elements that must be addressed so s/he can get the necessary buy-in to make a purchase or resolve a problem?
  • How does the buyer align the department heads with the budget issues and the partners?
  • How do the old vendors get re-chosen or deleted?
  • How does the prospect meld the old technology with the new, and ensure that there is still enough work for the tech guys, 0r make sure that the users still are on board when they don’t like the new software?

Because until or unless all of this takes place, until or unless there is buy-in, until or unless the buying environment is able to agree to bring in something new (a solution) and ensure that the ‘new thing’ won’t permanently damage their current working environment, they will not buy.

And there is no sales model that helps the buyer manage the off-line, behind-the-scenes decision issues. Because the sales model is perfect for understanding and assessing needs, digitally following the observable buying behaviors, and placing a solution. But it still, with all of our technology, cannot influence the prospect’s private discussions and meetings that greatly bias the buying decision.

As my friend Roger Cauvin says, “The pain is in the buying decision process.”


Until Buying Facilitation® there has never been a way to attend or have influence over the private ‘stuff’ that goes on that we are never privy to. But make no mistake: the buyer has to manage these internal issues, these relationships and political mine fields.

Just like you couldn’t walk by a great house and walk in and buy it, and then go home and tell your spouse that you just bought a house and now you’ll be moving, buyers can’t just recognize a great solution and bring it in. People must buy-in. Technology must work around it. The work-arounds that hold the current problem in place must be re-directed. Sales doesn’t do that. You can’t do that. But the time it takes buyers to come up with their own answers is the length of the sales cycle. And you asking them how it’s done, or who decides it is still acting from a needs analysis/solution placement head set: even if you know how it’s done (which even the buyer doesn’t – read my newest book Dirty Little Secrets), or who the decision makers are (which the buyer doesn’t know at first, and an outsider could never influence), it won’t affect the route the buyer takes off-line.

Take a look at adding a new set of skills to what you’re already doing. It’s an addition to sales, but not based on needs analysis or solution placement. We wait while buyers do this anyway. Why not help them and be part of the solution?

Using Buying Facilitation™ you will be able to get onto the buyer’s buying decision team on the first call. Yep. Once you stop attempting to understand their ‘pain’ and place your solution, there is a whole different set of possibilities.

How is the prospect managing their issues? How will they know if it’s worth it to seek a solution that might work better? How will they know that one solution over another will fit within their environment? What has stopped them from seeking a solution until now? How will they ensure that the new management will have their interests at heart? These are just a tiny fraction of the questions buyers must answer before they make a purchase. And sales does not help them address these issues, nor does your charming personality and fabulous solution.

Those are a few of the questions buyers must manage. Do they sell your product? Well, yes and no. Not specifically, but until buyers manage some of these issues, they can’t buy anyway. Your choices are to act as a neutral navigator and help them walk through their decision issues (with no bias or solution push) or sit and wait til they’ve done it themselves.

So – would you rather sell? Or help buyer buy?


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