9 Steps that Influence a Buying Decision

Posted by on Dec 25, 2013 in New | 0 comments

The steps of a buying decision differ from the steps of a sale. The sales model has no way to influence the private decisions and buy-in issues that buyers must address before they can buy.

Buyers live in a ‘system’ that maintains their Identified Problem (or ‘pain’) over time, creating work-arounds that become part of the system and, well, comfortable. Indeed, if the buyer really needed to make a change, they would have done so already. It’s only when a group of dedicated, internal change agents are willing to push the river, that a purchase is even considered.

Before buyers can buy, there must be buy-in to the proposed change, a plan that minimizes disruption, and a way to foster agreement between the people, policies and relationships that touch a new solution. A buying decision is far more complex than just fixing a problem.

I’ve developed Buying Facilitation® – a decision navigation model that is an add-on to sales and helps buyers bring together the right people and issues – to enable agreement and ensure change procedures are in place to make a purchase. Here are a few Buying Facilitation® skills to use with sales:


Help the gatekeeper discover who your best point of contact would be.

Don’t try to ‘get through’ the gatekeeper. She knows the best person to connect you with. And don’t attempt to ‘go to the top.’ The top person usually delegates to the appropriate people. Ask for the CEO’s assistant, and she’ll get you to the right people. Question: who is in control of the conversation – you? or the Gatekeeper?

Use Facilitative Questions to get into rapport and have buyers begin to examine how/if/why they would consider changing their status quo.

Until or unless prospects determine to make a change and get all appropriate folks on board to buy-in to change and ensure there is minimal disruption, it doesn’t matter whether

  • you can see their need,
  • your solution is perfect,
  • they think they need you/your solution,
  • they love your solution, price, personality, etc.

IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. Do you need to be working out more? It’s not about the gym.

Here is a Facilitative Question I use to start conversations: How would you know if it were time to add new sales skills to the ones you’re already offering your sales folks? This question helps them think about necessary steps and new choices they must consider.

Remember: discussing solutions and needs assessment are irrelevant at this early stage. Facilitative Questions help the BUYER see the whole picture of what is going on strategically and tactically. Until or unless they know how to manage their system first, they will take no action. This is where buyers go when you’re sitting and waiting.

Lead prospects/buyers through the systems issues they must consider in order to determine how any proposed change will disrupt their status quo.

Facilitative Questions and Presumptive Summaries are used to help buyers look at their status quo with an unbiased eye. No matter what their ‘need’ or ‘problem’ if they don’t think they can change in a way that maintains systems congruence, they will do nothing. Remember: the buyer’s environment/culture/system has lived with the Identified Problem until now, and can continue to do so. If they had known how to resolve it differently, they would have.

Facilitate prospect’s discovery of what sorts of strategic issues they must manage to get folks on board with potential change.

There are 3 levels of decisions necessary: systems, strategic, and tactical. Addressing them in this order is optimal although it’s usually an iterative process.

Lead prospects/buyers through tactical issues they must manage before they can choose a solution.

Once they determine that

  1. their system would be willing to shift to add something/change/resolve something,
  2. their rules, relationships, people, are willing to change,
  3. they know how to shift congruently to minimize disruption,

they will then be willing to bring in a new solution. Until or unless their status quo is reconfigured in a way that the insiders are willing to support, they will do nothing: the risk to their functioning is too high. Hence the longer-than-necessary sales cycle.

Buyers must do this with you or without you – so it might as well be with you.

Help the prospect choose the members of the Buying Decision Team.

Help buyers recognize the right people to include. Usually they don’t know who it will be until way down the road, much like you don’t know all the trials you’ll face before you start a move.

Discuss how your solution fits with the internal issues that they must manage.

This step is about melding your solution with the entire range of issues they have to manage internally, including the people, policies, and relationships.

Discuss/present your solution and show the prospect/buyer how it would fit with their need/problem.

Once they do all of the above and get appropriate buy-in to manage change, they will know how and when to buy, and you can discuss needs/solutions according to their buy-in issues.

Follow up to see if there is anything you can do to help the prospect/buyer decide to purchase.

This is part of a good sales job, of course.


Make an appointment to get in front of the prospect

This is a hold-over from another era. Until buyers put together their decision team and figure out how to change without disruption, your bright shiny face and the efficacy of your solution is irrelevant. You can do all of the above without meeting a client. And then, when you get there, the entire Buying Decision Team will be there and you wouldn’t have wasted any time/visits.

Manage objections and differentiate yourself from the competition.

The sales model creates objections because it pushes data/solution info against a ‘closed system.’ When you hear an objection, it’s merely the system defending itself against change and nothing whatsoever about your solution. Once you teach the system how to manage buy-in without disruption, there are no objections.

80% of your prospects will buy within 2 years – but not from you. The time it takes them to manage the buying decision to ensure there will be no disruption is the length of the sales cycle. You can either sit and wait for them to do it, or you can learn Buying Facilitation® and become the GPS system to help them navigate. Would you rather sell? or help someone buy?


Wanting to learn more? Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what to do about it. Check out the site for more details.

Or consider purchasing the bundle: Dirty Little Secrets plus my last book Buying Facilitation®: the new way to sell that influences and expands decisions. In addition, you will also receive a bonus illustrated booklet.

Learn Buying Facilitation® | Implement Buying Facilitation® | License Buying Facilitation®
Sharon Drew Morgen is the visionary and thought leader behind Buying Facilitation®, the new sales paradigm that focuses on helping buyers manage their buying decision. She is the author of the NYTimes Business Bestseller Selling with Integrity and the recent Dirty Little Secrets. She is a keynote speaker, trainer and consultant focusing on buy-in and decision making.

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The White Knight Syndrome

Posted by on Dec 24, 2013 in Business, Leadership, New | 0 comments

white knight

As a leader it is easy to think that we alone possess all anyone needs to know; to think that our view of the world is the right one. After all, the view looks pretty good from where we sit. We’ve thought everything through. We have access to more information than anyone else. We have a way of doing things and it works—for us. So what rational person would question you? What could they possibly know that you don’t?

We can get a little self-important and think that we need to mount our white horse and begin a crusade to save the kingdom—charging through the organization bringing everyone in line with our way of thinking and our way of doing things. We know best and if they can see it, well then, they’re wrong. But before we do we should consider these questions:

Is this about me? Of course not. But before you get on your high horse, ask yourself if the issue is truly a right-wrong issue or simply a matter of opinion or approach? No one likes to be questioned, but the questions serve as a tool to help us grow. They keep us in check. If we’re not being questioned, we have an even bigger problem. We have made our leadership about us—and everyone around us knows it. Only we are deluded enough to think otherwise.

Is there a connection I can build on? Find connection with the other side—even if you have only their intentions to consider. Rarely is anyone going out of their way to do the wrong thing. Most often it is their execution that is bad. Their timing can also be at the core of the problem. All these things can be fixed without diminishing the other side. Finding areas where you agree gives you something to build on and shows respect.

Am I motivated by the desire to establish my authority? If you have to correct someone, you should never leave them there. As a leader, your job is to build up not to put down. There are times when you have to correct but it should only be done in an effort to grow others and not to control them. If correction is about control, it’s about you—and you’ve lost before you’ve even gotten out of the gate.

Most crusades are about ego. They are designed to leverage differences. Stamp out opposition. Differences of opinion and approach serve to sharpen us, grow us, and open our thinking. If it is different it will make you uncomfortable. But that doesn’t necessarily make it wrong. Growth is risky, uncomfortable, and messy. Over time our own thinking numbs us if it is not challenged. It desensitizes us to the reality around us.

The most valuable people we have around us are those people who are willing to question us, consider another approach, and test our assumptions. We need these people if we are to grow into the leader we could be. It’s not about us.

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Be Yourself, Then Improve Yourself

Posted by on Dec 24, 2013 in New | 0 comments



I’ve always been fascinated by the Japanese carp otherwise known as the koi. It’s a fish with seemingly unlimited growth potential. If you put the koi in a small fishbowl, it will grow to only be two or three inches long. In a larger tank or small pond, and it gets to be a foot and a half. But if the koi is placed in a large lake, where it can really stretch out, it can grow up to three feet long. The size of the fish is proportional to the size of its home.

Well, it works that way with people too. We grow according to the size of our world. Not physically, of course, but mentally. You too can be a mental giant!

Is it up to your supervisor to prepare you for a promotion? Maybe a little, but the real responsibility belongs much closer to home. You have to let your boss know that you’re always ready for a new challenge and will do whatever it takes to prepare. You want to be qualified before the next job opens up, not disappointed after. You want to be interesting at the office and after hours. You want to be interesting at the office and after hours. Your coworkers and friends can hear the same stores only so many times.

Grow. Stretch. Transform yourself.

A simple bar of iron is worth about $5. Made into horseshoes, the value rises to about $50. Transform it into needles, and now you’re talking about $500. But if you take that bar of iron and make it into springs for a Swiss watch, it could be worth a half-million bucks. You started with the same raw material; the value grew as the material was formed and developed.

It’s the same with people.

The post Be Yourself, Then Improve Yourself appeared first on Harvey Mackay Official Website | Bestselling Author of Swim with the Sharks.

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Wholeness, Meaning, and Change

Posted by on Dec 23, 2013 in New | 0 comments

“Meaning is a peculiarly individual and subjective thing. I wonder, if every worker pursued their own notion of meaning, how would that affect the corporate world?”

That question was posed a few years ago by my online friend and EQ expert extraordinnaire, the late Galba Bright. 

It’s a question that is related to the success–-or failure–-of every change initiative. Whether it’s about a new benefits package, introducing new technology, or figuring out where the entire family will go on vacation, meaning is the core issue.


WholenessBecause when we retain what is meaningful, we have a sense of wholeness. When we have a sense of wholeness, we can–-by definition–-bring our whole self to the game. Conversely, if meaning is subverted in some way, so are we. Our enthusiasm and commitment diminish; only part of us is left, and it’s not the part that is ready to add value to the situation.

A Helpful Way to Think About Meaning, Worklife, and Change

Corporations are in business to earn a profit. Without that, there wouldn’t be jobs or money for employees. Heck, there wouldn’t be employees, products, or services. Without high-performing employees, there wouldn’t be highly profitable corporations.

Which means that both are giving and getting something out of the relationship. And that’s where I believe the frustration begins. The same people who would spend days, weeks, and months wining and dining a new love–-gazing longingly into the other’s eyes–-too often spend about 5 minutes sending out an email announcing a change that will impact work schedules, careers, income, and the well-being of families.

I’ve been involved in corporate life for more than 30 years. Most executives I know do acknowledge the personal difficulties inherent with change. But here’s where it gets icky: somehow, along the way, a particular defense mechanism has been allowed to serve as an acceptable “reason” for all kinds of behavior. And that is the phrase, “This is a business.”

When that is uttered, somehow everyone within earshot is supposed to nod knowingly, acknowledging that the business gods–wherever they are–deserve whatever sacrificial offering is required to keep them looking favorably upon that company’s shareholder value.

“This is a business.”

Knock it off, we all know that. In fact, that’s why we’re all here!

We’re all here for another reason

“Business” allows us to fulfill some deeper sense of meaning and purpose in our lives. For some, it’s the work itself. For others, it may offer the means to buy a first home and start a much longed-for family. For still others, the location of the workplace may have meaning if one needs to care for elderly or suffering family members. And, yes, there are many who are working simply to have enough money to retire. They’ve decided that they’ll delay certain kinds of satisfaction so that they don’t need to worry during their later years.

Many of us will be sitting around the Christmas dinner table with family and friends or celebrating holidays in other ways, but still having conversations about the year past and the year ahead. As you listen–or add your own hopes and dreams–be aware of the differences in purpose and meaning. 

They are all personal and all valid. 

What gives meaning to your work? If the conversation slows down, that may be a useful question to ask. You’ll learn quite a bit about each other.


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