Buyers live in a system. It includes people, policies, relationships, company or family politics, personality issues, initiatives, historic vendor relationships, personal biases, fears. And any Identified Problem, or need, that our product can resolve, sits inside that system. And make no mistake: this Identified Problem sits comfortably in the buyer’s culture (their ‘system’).
When they go to resolve this Identified Problem, they are stuck with the work-arounds that the system created for it that not only provide some sort of solution, but also creates sticky tentacles that become firmly rooted in the buyer’s environment. Until or unless these latch on to something else, or get untangled in a way that everyone approves of, no purchase can take place. Managing this creates the delays in buying decisions.
Like in all systems, our buyer’s environments seek homeostasis. It’s a universal law of nature – the retention of balance, regardless of what it takes to do this. When we show up with a solution, no matter how necessary the need, our solution threatens the system. To us it just looks like a need that our solution can fix. To buyers it looks like disruption. Remember, there is some sort of work-around already.
But sales does NOT handle this: in sales, every question, every skill, every professional behavior, is targeted to placing a product. You’ve learned to overcome objections, handle gatekeepers, close better, and wait til they are ready. You gather data – about the problem/need; you listen carefully – about the problem/need; you offer solutions – about the problem/need.
But separate from the Identified Problem/need is the system that holds it in place; if it were so urgent, the buyer would have fixed the need already!
Until buyers figure out how to manage all of those people and policy issues, until they get buy-in from all of the people that are affected by the Identified Problem or the work-arounds the buyer has created to manage the problem prior to finding a different solution, they will do nothing. And because it’s so unique and idiosynratic, because there is no way for an outsider to understand why some folks are having a fight, or why one department doesn’t work with another, or why the decision team members all have disparate views on a solution, a seller can’t understand what is going on. And they can’t be directly involved with the resolution of those issues.
The dirty little secret is that buyers don’t understand it either, until they are well into their decisioning and untangling.
Sales has never taught you how to become an unbiased coach, and help buyers 1. recognize the full extent and reach of the problem situation and the sorts of tangles it’s created; 2. figure out how to resolve their issues with familiar resources and old vendors; and 3. identify the people and teams that need to buy-in to a new solution to ensure there will be no disruption when the problem is resolved.
By using Buying Facilitation (www.newsalesparadigm.com) we can help prospects figure out how to manage and resolve the systems elements that need to agree to change. It’s not sales, but it influences the sale and facilitates the buying decision. Buyers must do this with us or without us. It might as well be with us. But it is a different skill set.
To learn more about it, read the two free chapters of my ebook Buying Facilitation: the new way to sell that influences and expands decisions