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The Definition Game: name that concept

Submitted by on Monday, 3 May 2010

I had so much fun with you all in April with my Steps to a Sales Call contest that I’m going to run another one. This time I’d like you to use your own words to define my concepts re helping buyers manage their behind-the-scenes decision issues. I’d like to either 1. use your definitions in addition to the ones I use, 2. help you correct your mis-perceptions, or 3. redefine terms the way you’re comfortable using them.

To be part of the official contest, please ‘define’ at least 4 of the terms and start a public dialogue with me. I will send each participant one of my Dirty Little Secrets books.

Here’s the deal: without taking definitions from my books (you can use previous blog posts, however) write up some definitions to the following terms:

  • Buying Facilitation™
  • Facilitative Questions
  • decision facilitation
  • buyer’s buying decisions
  • navigating the buying decision
  • the system buyers live in
  • the change management issues buyers must address
  • the difference between buy-in and buying decisions
  • Buying Facilitation™ and Sales: how do they work together?

As you think about the definitions, remember this: sales handles the needs assessment and solution placement end of the buyer’s decisions, but does nothing to address their off-line, behind-the-scenes, private and personal dialogues, relationships/political issues they must address internally (and not problem/need/solution driven) prior to getting the buy-in necessary to choose a solution or vendor.

I know your definitions may be wildly different from mine – many of you are still thinking “sales sales sales.” But hopefully, through our dialogue, we can both learn: you can learn the difference between the solution sale and the pre-sale, private buying decision issues, and I can learn how to say the damn thing so more of you can understand what I’m talking about.

I’ll respond frequently to your comments and I’ll publish my definitions on May 25. Thanks, everyone. And make sure I have a way to reach you so I can send you a book!

If you would like to submit this contest to twitter, please click here.

CHOICES FOR SUBMISSION

1. Comment here: For those of you who want to just talk to me, or others in the Buying  Facilitation™ community, this is the easiest route.

2. Blogs: If you find this exercise interesting, or like the thinking about decision facilitation, you could write a blog post, or I could do a visiting post for you.

3. Facebook: Can you do a status update: do your friends want to discuss how buyer’s buy with you? Do they want to learn how to manage the entire sale? If you can get something exciting started with lots of buy-in and discussion,  I’ll send you a Buying Facilitation™ in a Box. Be sure to make your status update open to the public with the hashtag #SDContest.

And thanks for ‘playing’ with me.

sd

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  • gatwood

    1) Buying Facilitation

    A: A Method of selling that assists the buyer in determining whether their issues can be solved by the seller’s solutions. It is customer centric and revolves around the basic premise of meeting the customers need and buying patterns and not the sellers.

    2) Facilitative Questions

    A: Are questions that guide the buyer through the decision process that leads to the point where the buyer is ready and able to make a purchasing decision.

    3) Decision facilitation

    A: To neutrally lead buyers through all of their behind-the-scenes, conscious and unconscious, decisions, issues, changes and complex problems.

    4) Buyer’s buying decisions

    A: A multitude of behind the scene decisions, with management, co-workers, partners, internal customers, in-house issues, political issues, change, etc. etc.

    5) Navigating the buying decision

    A: How did you get here, what can we do about it, who has a solution, how do we pick a solution, who are all the stakeholders, can we get buy-in

    6) The system buyers live in

    A: This is the system they have created or work in. The one they are used to and reluctant to change.

    7) The change management issues buyers must address

    A: The biggest issues is that people like where they are and do not want to change

    8) The difference between buy-in and buying decisions

    A: Buy-in is getting agreement from all stakeholders that a change needs to be made. That something new needs to be brought in to fix a problem or solve an issue. The “Buying Decision” can then be made to buy a particular vendors solution

    9) Buying Facilitation® and Sales: how do they work together?

    A: Facilitation assists the buyer get to the point where they are able to make a buying decision. This assists the seller in tailoring his sale to meet the buyer’s needs.

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  • anthonysomers

     Facilitative Questions: Are verbal or written questions organised to positively assist ones interlocutor to clarify her/his understanding ability in a decisional situation that inevitably requires the understanding and buy-in from one or more of her/his entourage.
     Decision facilitation: Is a coherent systematic questioning approach that allows the interlocutor to visit, identify and comprehend the extent and range of (business) issues she/he has to contend with and hopefully resolve.
     Buyer’s buying decisions: Are those questions the buyer has to ask her or himself and resolve, hopefully with the assistance and input of those persons intimately or practically involved in finding a workable solution to a problem.
     Navigating the buying decision: Is the preparation and delivery of questions that are helpful to the interlocutor to lead her/him through the maze that is her/his own peculiar organisation in order to establish a comprehensive and workable solution to the problem in hand.
     The system buyers live in: Is always singular and peculiar to the organisation in question. The system within which the buyer evolves does not have to be understandable, but has to be workable for those involved. The system stands supreme and those wishing to make radical changes (for its own good) are often ruthlessly isolated or eliminated.
     Change management issues buyers must address: First and foremost, buyers and their teams will reach out for soft or gentle change that will give them the least chagrin. Otherwise they have the job of educating management and the users and the unions and getting their cooperation for the use of “new” technology. Or they might have to change the old jobs people did for years. Or they may even have to change the category of people employed to contend with a new and different “business” situation.
     The difference between buy-in and buying decisions: Is that there is usually a buying “team” that will seek a solution and eventually, when everyone has been seen and heard from, will take the median decision. The buy-in situation is for those from whom resistance will undoubtedly come should they not be informed, consulted and carefully taken into consideration when it comes to their opinions and beliefs.
     Buying Facilitation® and Sales: how do they work together: These two should look like a tandem bicycle? The Buying Facilitation Questions as the handlebars or guiding system up front showing the way as indicated above. The selling is in the rear and the powerhouse giving the reasons why your solution is the help the buyer needs.

  • http://sharondrewmorgen.com sharondrew

    Gatwood:
    Thanks for taking the time and care to respond. As you consider these, and before I give you 'the answers', note that there is a difference between the behind-the-scenes issues buyers must address internally, and the consideration of a solution. Sales doesn't manage the off-line stuff. So when defining Buying Facilitation(R), think about it as two distinct skill sets – not about a need or solution. That's enough of a 'hint.' Hope it helped a bit :) And I appreciate your consideration and time. sd

  • http://sharondrewmorgen.com sharondrew

    Good start, anthony. As you're thinking on this, ask yourself: what's the difference between the 'problem/need' and the system it sits in. Figure out how/why they need to be separated before a solution is considered. Just a hint :)
    Thank you!

  • anthonysomers

    The difference between a 'problem/need' and the system it sits in:

    A system is an organisation. Any system whatever the size is a working body. As such a system is predisposed to seeking and functioning in equilibrium.

    The problem/need is a breakdown in the workings of the system and depending on the size of the problem/need and its propensity to cause serious damage to the system; has to be addressed more or less swiftly.

    The speed at which the problem/need is addressed depends usually on the overall impact the problem/need has on the immediate health of the system.

  • gatwood

    Ok so I bought the eBook, and what you’re saying is that Buying Facilitation® is an up-front add on to the sales process. Its function is to help lead the buyer through all the behind-the-scenes, systems and criteria to reduce or remove the risk and fear of the change required to bring in a new solution. Now my question is what is my next step in learning this process? The eBook was a good intro but not enough substance for me to implement the up-front process into my sales process. Thanks GA

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  • Robert Wright

    Hello Sharon Drew,

    I hope you are well. Below you will find my answers.

    decision facilitation
    – Is a staged process of objective questioning/ listening, feedback leading to the objective discovery of the factors necassary for the buyer to make informed, balanced and progressive decisions for change.

    buyer’s buying decisions
    – Buyers buying decisions have both unique and general components and are based on the contextual understanding of their environment which they subjectively inhabit.
    *Buyers buying decisions are generally cognizant, inter-dependent and made with the best of intention for self/ others/ self & others.
    *Buyers buying decisons are comprised of desire, fears, hopes, beliefs, bias, hidden agendas..
    *Buyers buying decisions may vary according to individual or shared mental, emotional or physical states induced or occuring during the time of decision…

    the system buyers live in
    – The system the buyer lives in is complex, like any system it seeks to maintain balance at all costs. The system will only change when change is preferable to the “status quo”.
    * The prominent system elements requiring maintenance or change will vary because each system have unique individuals, culture, biases, norms, environments, history, elements… The system can be further broken down into sub-systems/ cultures…
    * The system the buyer lives in will consist of common goals and objectives, supporting these goals and objectives will be beliefs, biases, behaviors of individuals, sub groups, group all at different levels..

    Buying Facilitation® and Sales: how do they work together?
    – Buying Facilitation is the front end addition to the sales process. Buying Facilitation enables the Facilitator to successfully facilitate the prospects discovery in a way which enables them to manage the on or off line decisions/ unique system issues which the buyer will have to manage prior to making a purchase.

    Without understanding the system issues which play into and contribute to the problem definition its impossible for the prospect to know exactly what a solution will look like and how they will go about getting making the right decisions with insufficient information, (Premature briefs, wasted time/ money, extended sales cycles are all symptoms of this fundemental selling error).

    Buying facilitation helps the prospect understand whether they can solve the problem internally or with familiar resources, (Saving precious time and resources for the seller and building a future relationship of trust with the buyer – “selling with integrity”.

    On the basis that the prospect cannot fix the problem with familiar resources, buying facilitation will objectively guide the prospect using objective listening, faciliative questions.. to support the buyer and ensure they understand and identify the issues which have held the problem in place, (historic, people, places, things..), when the buyer understands that maintaining this problem will do more harm than good – the sales person and buying team are then in a position to discuss a solution which will not cause any unnecassary disruption and will run securely within the buyers environment.

    Thanks for the post, it has provided fresh impetus for learning.

    Sincere regards,
    Robert

  • Robert Wright

    Hello Sharon Drew,

    I hope you are well. Below you will find my answers.

    decision facilitation
    – Is a staged process of objective questioning/ listening, feedback leading to the objective discovery of the factors necassary for the buyer to make informed, balanced and progressive decisions for change.

    buyer’s buying decisions
    – Buyers buying decisions have both unique and general components and are based on the contextual understanding of their environment which they subjectively inhabit.
    *Buyers buying decisions are generally cognizant, inter-dependent and made with the best of intention for self/ others/ self & others.
    *Buyers buying decisons are comprised of desire, fears, hopes, beliefs, bias, hidden agendas..
    *Buyers buying decisions may vary according to individual or shared mental, emotional or physical states induced or occuring during the time of decision…

    the system buyers live in
    – The system the buyer lives in is complex, like any system it seeks to maintain balance at all costs. The system will only change when change is preferable to the “status quo”.
    * The prominent system elements requiring maintenance or change will vary because each system have unique individuals, culture, biases, norms, environments, history, elements… The system can be further broken down into sub-systems/ cultures…
    * The system the buyer lives in will consist of common goals and objectives, supporting these goals and objectives will be beliefs, biases, behaviors of individuals, sub groups, group all at different levels..

    Buying Facilitation® and Sales: how do they work together?
    – Buying Facilitation is the front end addition to the sales process. Buying Facilitation enables the Facilitator to successfully facilitate the prospects discovery in a way which enables them to manage the on or off line decisions/ unique system issues which the buyer will have to manage prior to making a purchase.

    Without understanding the system issues which play into and contribute to the problem definition its impossible for the prospect to know exactly what a solution will look like and how they will go about getting making the right decisions with insufficient information, (Premature briefs, wasted time/ money, extended sales cycles are all symptoms of this fundemental selling error).

    Buying facilitation helps the prospect understand whether they can solve the problem internally or with familiar resources, (Saving precious time and resources for the seller and building a future relationship of trust with the buyer – “selling with integrity”.

    On the basis that the prospect cannot fix the problem with familiar resources, buying facilitation will objectively guide the prospect using objective listening, faciliative questions.. to support the buyer and ensure they understand and identify the issues which have held the problem in place, (historic, people, places, things..), when the buyer understands that maintaining this problem will do more harm than good – the sales person and buying team are then in a position to discuss a solution which will not cause any unnecassary disruption and will run securely within the buyers environment.

    Thanks for the post, it has provided fresh impetus for learning.

    Sincere regards,
    Robert

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