I recently finished a book called Dirty Little Secrets by Sharon Drew Morgan. Fascinating. Read it.

It emphasizes the need to understand and empathize with the buyer’s crazy internal system that accepts or does not accept any change to their status quo. The premise is: until the buying team can obtain buy-in to changing the status quo…they won’t. It’s that simple.

When you insert a new system—a new way of doing things—resistance is everywhere. You can show them all day long how your solution makes things better. But until you get conformation—or a true confession from all interested parties, you’ll waste lots of time in the selling cycle wondering what’s going on inside the buying decision cycle.

Until you get all interested people to the table and discuss all the options: internal solutions, existing vendors, and workarounds, you really won’t make much progress. The key is to be a problem facilitator, not a solution peddler.

They’ll go through this process anyway—they have to. So don’t fight it. Leverage it.

We have been really successful with buying facilitation. It’s now part of our selling culture. And it’s changed everything. We don’t talk about our solutions—we talk about the buyer’s situation, and the change obstacles they are facing.  We encourage looking at internal solutions, other existing vendor solutions, and possible workarounds.

If they pass that test, and still have a problem, then you have a qualified buyer. It helps you and the buying team quickly get to your solution.

How to use buying facilitation questions to maximum advantage

Ask the right questions early—don’t peddle products.

“So, have you looked at ways to solve the problems without bringing in an external solution?”

“Are there existing solutions in place that could be enhanced to address the issues?”

“Who needs to be involved to get a change like this accepted?”

“What are the main obstacles you see in making this change?”

Become the buying facilitator—the trusted advisor

After helping your buying team understand how to consider the possible alternatives and workarounds, then you can start to show how your solutions can bring greater value. You’ll have inside knowledge and competitive position, making your job much easier. You can demonstrate value with confidence that your buyers are ready to change.

It makes so much sense. And best of all… it works. It dramatically shortens your sales cycles, because you’re expediting the inevitable.

Hope you have your best year ever.