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Buying Facilitation®: what is it? and how is it different from sales?

Submitted by on Monday, 11 January 2010

I’m so pleased that my trademarked model Buying Facilitation™ is getting acceptance in the sales field. I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce folks to my definition of it, to ensure that when they use the term they don’t confuse it with sales.

Here is the definition, how it differs from sales, and why we get such different results when we use it.Buying Facilitation™ is a decision facilitation model that leads buyers through all of the internal, off-line, behind-the-scenes issues they must manage privately, to ensure there is buy-in for change. This is a change management model, and not focused on need or solution placement. it is a way to help lead buyers through their change issues they must address as they consider bringing in something ‘different’ – a solution, for example – from outside.

Buyers do this anyway: until or unless they attain buy-in from the relevant (and often unconscious) decision issues they must address, they will take no action. If there was an emergency, they would have made the necessary change (bought a new solution, developed a work-around, used an existing vendor) already. So there is no emergency, no ‘pain,’ and no reason for them to act within the seller’s time frame.

In fact, this is where buyers go when they say “I’ll call you back” and sellers sit there and think, “What’s the deal? Where have they gone? They’ve got a need, I’ve got the solution, and they like me. I don’t get it.”

Unless buyers get buy-in, they face internal disruption if they try to change – and maintaining their internal system (their status quo) takes precedence over fixing a problem that in all likelihood already has a work-around.

HOW BUYING FACILITATION® DIFFERS FROM SALES

Sales focuses on understanding need and placing a solution. In fact, sellers pose their entire first conversation around finding need, uncovering need, understanding need, to see if there is a fit. See, sellers think they must do this first to ensure the solution matches the need. Certainly they need to do this eventually. But buyers don’t have all of the right data too share with sellers this early on.

Thinking about a solution or vendor is the very last thing a buyer does. Not only is a buyer not ready to buy just because they have an apparent need, they haven’t figured out yet the process they are going to go through in order to decide if they are going to resolve it. The timing to make a purchase is very very different from the timing a seller uses to attempt to place a solution.

THE DEFINITION IS NOT SALES-FOCUSED

When I see folks misdefining the term Buying Facilitation™ (and decision facilitation too, for that matter) they are using the term to mean Solution Choice/Product Purchase Facilitation, continuing to focus on product sale. Sales does not handle this internal, off-line private stuff and it’s so idiosyncratic and unique that even buyers don’t know what’s going to happen. Are the two user teams having a fight – or a budget dispute? Is the tech team attempting to take over the solution? Does the new business partner have a partial solution that seems as if it will manage the entire problem? Until the issues occur, there is no way to understand what’s going to happen. But there is a way to understand the types of things that need to happen, and we can be neutral navigators and leaders – an additional, unbiased job to add to the sales function.

Sales doesn’t manage these things, and buyers won’t buy until they get managed. Without ensuring that relationships don’t fall apart, that initiatives are on track, that internal politics don’t get out of joint, buyers can make no decisions to bring in anything new. Think of buying a new car without discussing it with your spouse. Think of a gym trying to get you to join when you haven’t decided to lose weight.

Not only is the model different, but by using it as the front end of the sales model, it’s possible to shorten sales cycle dramatically – almost unbelievably. See, one of the Dirty Little Secrets that I discuss in my new book, is that buyers don’t know what they must do to get alignment at the start of their decision process. But the seller can take on this new skill set and help them make their own idiosyncratic decisions.

As I’ve said, they must do this anyway. And once you do it you’ll know on the first call who is going to be a buyer. That’s right. No more wasting time following folks who won’t buy around for months…. and yet you will double the number of people who want to buy…. in half the time. And I’ve got testimonials for those numbers.

If you have any questions about this, my new book will answer most of them. Otherwise, let me know and we can talk.

sd

Check out my new book: Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what to do about it. Read two free chapters, testimonials, and much more. Then buy the book.

Or consider purchasing the bundleDirty Little Secrets plus my last book Buying Facilitation™: the new way to sell that influences and expands decisions. These books were written to be read together, as they offer the full complement of concepts to help you learn and understand Buying Facilitation™ – the new skill set that gives you the ability to lead buyers through their buying decisions.

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