What is the difference between selling and helping someone buy?
A lot. But not what you think.
When I began talking about helping buyers buy in 1988, people thought I was a little nuts (and what does that have to do with anything?). I persisted, and finally, about 3 or4 years ago, people began using the phrase as if it had always been around.
But the term is not being defined as I’ve been using it: the definition I’ve been hearing is focused on getting buyers to make a purchase. My definition is a bit different. Well, OK. A lot different.
I’ve always believed that the time it takes buyers to come up with their own answers is the length of the buying decision. Their. Own. Answers.
What does that mean? Well, it doesn’t mean anything about their need – they can’t even fully articulate their need when we first meet them cuz it’s too early in their decision process. It means that buyers live in this tangle of people and policies and initiatives and vendors that actually create AND MAINTAIN their status quo. That’s right: the ‘problem’ that you think you can resolve is part of their system and is happy to be there, thank you very much. Or they would have resolved it already.
So we come in, waving our magic wands, telling them we can fix it. But they mostly don’t want us to. Or at least they don’t come back and buy, even though their need and our solution seem to be a fit. Why?
Because their tangle, their system, their stuff that maintains their need, is a complex system of craziness, and processes, and work-arounds that touch the need, and don’t want to be messed up.
BUYERS MUST MANAGE INTERNAL CHANGE BEFORE CHOOSING A SOLUTION
Before buyers can buy they have to help this tangle agree to change: that’s where they go when they say “I’ll call you back.” And we haven’t had the ability to go there with them. Because sales doesn’t do that: sales is a product/service placement model – not a decision facilitation model. All of the information gathering we do is in service to placing our product to manage their need. We don’t touch the lion’s share of what the buyer must do to be ready to buy.
In fact, the very last thing that a buyer does is make a product purchase. First they must make sure there is buy-in from all of the people and elements that touch the problem, and make sure that there is a behind-the-scenes approach to change. Buyers won’t resolve their problem with our solution until everything in their companies lines up and agrees.
It’s not a buying decision; it’s change management.
That brings me to Buying Facilitation™. Buying Facilitation™ is a decision facilitation model that sellers use to help buyers maneuver through the internal systems issues that they must address so they can get buy-in to change (and bringing in a solution is change) AND THAT OFTEN HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH NEED.
It helps with those meetings our prospects have with their other vendors. Or the new partners who want to resolve the problem in a different way.
Using sales, we cannot influence those off-line meetings. But Buying Facilitation™ helps buyers do that. But it’s NOT SALES.
You know how to sell. You just don’t know how to help buyers buy. Are you ready to do something different?
How would you know that adding a new skill set to what you’re currently doing would give you the results you deserve?