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Buying Facilitation® and Sales: The Great One-Two Punch:

Submitted by on Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Sales: One Two PunchSales is a great model for understanding need and placing solutions.
Buying Facilitation® is a change management model, great for helping buyers navigate their behind-the-scenes change management issues – you know, that mysterious stuff buyers go through privately to get buy-in and manage change, while we sit and wait for them to buy.

Before buyers can buy they must manage their internal change; the sales model is not designed for this. Before they can buy they must figure out how, when, if they are ready for change, manage all of their human and systemic variables. Before they complete this, ‘understanding need’ is too premature.


Once Buyers

  • understand the full set of systems issues that have created and maintained their status quo,

  • know everyone involved that must buy in or change,

  • determine how and why and if and when they can resolve their problem with minimum disruption,

  • the criteria they all need to meet to move forward with any change, then  it’s time to understand the specifics of their problem and know the right way to introduce your solution. 

As a Buying Facilitator, your first job would be to lead the buyer through their change. Your next job would be as a sales professional. First, neutral, unbiased change agent/coach. Second, gather data about full spectrum of need, and then place solution.


Step one: Make contact as a change agent. Lead a prospect through the discovery of the places within their system (much different from understanding need!) where they might need to consider change and notice what has maintained their status quo in the area your solution can resolve.

Step two: help the prospect discover all of the internal factors (many unknown, many historic) they would have to manage before considering change.

Step three: help the prospect assemble the right people to put onto a Buying Decision Team and help the Team recognize what they would each need from a new solution (ensure the full spectrum of needs are met).

Step four: help prospects

  • re-organize around the change,

  • plot out the steps for adopting a solution that the whole Buying Decision Team would buy-in to,

  • recognize any fall-out before they can even consider the right solution,

  • get agreement to change and move forward.


Step five: gather the full spectrum of data from all Buying Decision Team members to see how your solution would fit and serve.

Step six: discuss your solution in detail, using the buyer’s buying criteria, introduced in a way that will teach the buyer how to manage the internal politics that you and the Buying Decision Team have just worked through.


Buyers must take steps one-four – with you or without you. It is here that you lose your sale. You are coming in at Step 5.

How many times have you had what you think is the exact right solution and the buyer doesn’t buy? It’s not because your solution doesn’t fit or because they don’t like you or your price: it’s because they couldn’t get buy-in to do something different, or the internal politics demanded a different solution, or the status quo prevailed because they didn’t know how to keep their system intact and determined that the risk and cost would be lower to do nothing.

You lose sales because buyers have a tough time navigating their internal decision issues, and sales doesn’t offer a model to help them do that.

Remember: the time it takes buyers to come up with their own answers is the length of the sales cycle – answers that most likely have absolutely nothing to do with your solution or their need, and everything to do with internal politics, relationships, and the unknown.

Buying Facilitation® is not sales. It’s a decision facilitation model that leads buyers through all of the internal navigation issues they must resolve privately and off-line before they get agreement to do anything different. Using sales, there are no skills to start where BF begins (As my book Dirty Little Secrets says over and over, don’t compare this to sales.) but you lose sales, lose time, lose money because you don’t.

Using Buying Facilitation® with sales, selling and buying are very different: the timing is different, the skills are different, the outcomes are different, the relationship is different and the competitive and money factors fade away.

Indeed, sellers can enter the buying environment much, much earlier, be a coach as buyers gather the appropriate players and handle their buy-in issues, and lead them through all of the behind-the-scenes decisions they must make by being a part of the Buying Decision team – not as a seller, but as a management consultant and change agent dedicated to buyers achieving excellence. They have to do this stuff anyway: might as well be with you. You sit and wait while they do it anyway.

Do you want to sell? or have someone buy? They are two different activities, and you need skills to support both.