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It’s the Buying Decision, Stupid

Submitted by on Monday, 6 August 2007

After years and years of me being the lone voice in the wilderness, crying IT’S THE BUYING DECISION, STUPID!, there are now several training folks talking about sales being about the buyer, not the product. Cool. But is that the underlying thought here?


From the folks I’ve spoken with (for example Jim Dickie at http://www.csoinsights.com/), the idea is taking hold that sellers need to ‘understand buyers buying decisions’. This isn’t actually true: it’s taking my original idea and making it far too simple.
Imagine trying to ‘understand’ how buyers make decisions! That would mean trying to understand their unique history of people, policies, rules, roles, initiatives, timing, historic influences, market forces, etc. An outsider can NEVER, ever understand another’s unque internal criteria. They might understand the ‘process’ that buyers go through, but not the full range of internal systems dynamics that actually define a new decision and get it carried out.
The new job of sellers is not to understand the buyer’s buying decision, but to be the unbiased lead dog that leads them through all of the internal, unique decisions they need to make in order for them to come up with their own decisions that manage their internal people/policies in a way that avoids disruption.
That is a new job for sellers and does not involve the seller’s product (imagine! sales not being about the seller’s product! horrors!). I’ve coded the system behind how decisions get made, and teach/coach the way sellers can use this decisioning sequence to lead buyers through their internal decision process.
The elements necessary to shift a current decision to something different are not obvious. How do you decide to change your hairstyle? or end a relationship? or move house? How does your team decide when it’s time for training? or hiring a new person? or firing one? Many of our decisions are unconscious, and need to be made conscious before action can take place. Indeed, the time it takes us to come up with our own answers is the length of the decision/buying cycle.
Buyers need to do this anyway: they will do it with you or without you. Learn Buying Facilitation, folks. Help buyers manage their buying decision and THEN you can sell them something.
I can teach you the skills of helping buyers buy, or I can coach you through your specific sales initiatives.
But don’t walk away thinking that if you understand how buyers make decisions (read this month’s free newsletter I’m now writing – subscribe at www.newsalesparadigm.com/news/html)you’ll close more than your normal 7% of prospects. You’ll need to do something different than attempt to understand. That’s the missing piece.