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BEST OF 2013: Leadership, Change, Listening, Buying Decisions

Submitted by on Monday, 30 December 2013

An interesting year. Sales technology continues to discover more and better ways to share and retrieve content and more finely tune ways to find prospects; deliverables for keynote speakers are becoming more consultative rather than instructional; US companies (different from those outside the US) are doing little face training; social media is expanding as a prospecting and business tool.

 

But the nut of the sales problem remains the same as it ever was: how to improve the close rate. Certainly sellers have a larger database to work from. Certainly when sellers have some sort of a relationship through social media, or find a demographic with a high potential of prospects, there is a greater chance of closing sales. But those just makes the possibility greater, not the probability.

 

RELATIONSHIPS DON’T MEAN CLOSED SALES

 

Regardless of all of the new ways to find prospects and form relationships you face the same problem you’ve always faced: how to get the folks you’re connected with to get the buy-in from the right people internally, in a timely way, to close the sale.

 

The problem is not your solution; the problem is not their need: the problem is buy-in, consensus management, and change.

 

80% of your prospects will buy your solution – within the next two years, and from a different vendor. Here’s a rule to take to the bank: the length of time it takes buyers to get buy-in from everyone who will touch the new solution (to avoid any internal disruption) is the length of the sales cycle. So problem/solution match isn’t the issue. They’ll buy when their software issues are managed, when the new teams are in place, when the old vendors are handled, when the reorg is complete. You can either facilitate the buy-in and change, or wait for the low-hanging fruit to drop into your lap when they are ready. But buyers must do this – with you or without you, and using the sale model alone, you are not privy to that process. That’s where you need to add Buying Facilitation®.

 

Buying Facilitation® is a unique model that leads buyers through the behind-the-scenes, management-related consensus issues they must address. Used as the front end of sales, it significantly increases closes and decreases time wastage: it actually teaches buyers to assemble the buying decision team quickly and handle the management issues you cannot be privy to. Do you want to sell? Or have someone buy? They are two different activities.

 

ARTICLES

As the developer of Buying Facilitation®, I’ve decided to shift gears from training to full time speaking and offer a wider audience the steps and capability to connect buying steps with sales. Go to www.buyingfacilitation.com and take a look at my new speaking site. If you’ve got a conference coming up, let me motivate your sellers to facilitate the buy cycle, add a new value proposition to become real servant leaders for your buyers, and become true relationship managers.

 

And now, my favorite articles of 2013. I spent this past year writing my new book on listening (Did You Really Say What I Think I Heard coming out the fall published by AMACOM) and focusing on collaborative communication and leadership. As a resultI wrote articles focusing on change, leadership, consensus and buy-in, and listening. New stuff. Cool articles (she says, modestly). Enjoy. And I look forward to connecting in the new year.

  1. What, exactly, is a relationship manager?
  2. How do decisions get made?
  3. Information is the problem. What’s the solution?
  4. What if we could hear each other? No. Really
  5. Buying Patterns, Buy Cycle, and Buying Decisions
  6. Sales is a flawed model
  7. Selling in harder times
  8. A buying decision is a change management problem
  9. Putting the lead into leadership: how to influence with integrity
  10. How to listen to what’s intended

 

For interest or questions, contact Sharon Drew. Take a look at up my new site.

Have you connected with me on LinkedIn? Connect now.

 

  • Paul Anthony Bernard

    Loved your article and sent it immediately to my partners for our 2014 planning session and will post forward… On our mind currently is some relationships just don’t work out… and that includes the commercial
    relationships of buyers and sellers. For a relationship to be longstanding it
    must be mutually beneficial. Sometimes a customer has to walk away, sometimes
    an organization must choose to respectfully decline the engagement of a
    business deal. It is folly to think you can satisfy all of the people all of
    the time…

That said, more attention needs be placed on keeping existing
    customers, communicating and listening to them. It is often given lip service
    only. It is far easier and more cost effective to maintain a customer than to
    get a new one, and far, far cheaper than the cost of getting the new customer
    who is a lost former customer. It is about better
    customer
care.