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Why Do We Blame Buyers?

Submitted by on Friday, 19 February 2010

I once told a group that I was going to title a book I’d Close More Sales if it Weren’t for the Buyer. I got a standing ovation! And I assumed I’d get a laugh. That’s like saying ‘I would have had a better birth experience if it weren’t for my mother.’

Why do we assume buyers are, um, stupid? Because it’s obvious to us they should buy. From where we stand, it seems we have THE perfect fit – the right solution at the right price, filling the right need, and the right relationship.

But we consistently forget that a buyer’s problem is not an isolated event, and it sits within the buyer’s environment – their system, if you will – all mashed up with a bunch of unknown and unknowable other elements that not only hold it in place, but maintain it daily.

And we walk in as Super Saviours, assuming we are, as Dr. Seuss says in The Sneetches The Fixxit Up Chappie.

But it’s so much more complex – even for a very simple sale. Because every single purchase is a Change Management issue. Every single one. And, so different from what we perceive, buyers are doing perfectly well as they are – or they would have fixed their problem already.

So, no, it’s not a money problem, or a competition problem, or a differentiation problem. And where prospects go is not to find a better price or visit your competition. They go to the next department, or an old vendor, or the tech group, to see if they can get buy-in for change.

Because until or unless buyers get agreement from everyone and everything that touches the Identified Problem, and would be in some way stressed if something different entered the system, they will do nothing. Regardless of their need, or your stellar, and (of course) perfect solution.

It’s  not about you, your solution, your relationship, your price, your care, your presentation, your appointment, your charisma, or having the perfect fit.

Until or unless buyers recognize and manage all of the internal issues that not only created their Identified Problem but keep it in place daily, and until they all buy-in to whatever change will happen when something new enters, they will do absolutely nothing.

Check out my new book Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what to do about it. It will explain what’s going on and what you can do about it. Then you can stop telling your manager that you’ve got prospects in the pipeline, and you’ll have a much better understanding of where and how you and your solution will fit in.

sd

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  • http://www.sellinghasvalue.com/ Paul Johnson

    Hi Sharon,

    This is something that sales people do struggle to overcome (I've been guilty of it before as well). To be successful one has to recognize and accept that the buyers environment is going to have tremendous impact on what can be done by the customer. And most likely you (the sales person) will have little visibility into the entire process. So what can you do?

    A common theme at my blog, http://www.sellinghasvalue.com, is actively caring about the customer. This means proactively, and collaboratively, providing solutions to their problems AND finding out how you can best assist with their internal decision processes as well.

    I've found that the old sales persons creedo, “Buyers lie” is not as accurate as “Buyers tend to underestimate”.

    They underestimate their own influence, they underestimate the rest of the organization, they underestimate the dedication to inaction, they underestimate the fear & resistance to change.

    By working with them collaboratively and proactively you can, in a small way, become a little part of their buying environment for this opportunity (and hopefully future business). If you can provide input that they value this can be the best way to assist them during their internal processes.

  • http://sharondrewmorgen.com sharondrew

    Hi Paul:
    Thanks for your comment. I'd like to suggest that even with the best will in the world, you are hampered by the sales model which merely manages the needs assessment and product placement. There is no skill set in sales that makes it possible to actually help buyers navigate through their off-line decision issues. Of course you can be a great buddy and friend, understand what they originally assume to be their 'need' but that still doesn't give buyers the tools to manage the fight that the two team leaders are having, or get the old vendor to stop pushing their new software, or get users to buy-in to new technology. etc. etc. Buyers do this on their own. I'm suggesting that Buying Facilitation(R) be used so you have a different skill set that will actually lead buyers through the systems issues they need to address. It employs a new form of question I developed called a Facilitative Question that works with brain sequencing to help buyer's manage their decisions.
    I have written about this in my new book Dirty Little Secrets.

    thanks, paul… and my first name is both words – sharon drew

  • http://sharondrewmorgen.com sharondrew

    Hi Paul:
    Thanks for your comment. I'd like to suggest that even with the best will in the world, you are hampered by the sales model which merely manages the needs assessment and product placement. There is no skill set in sales that makes it possible to actually help buyers navigate through their off-line decision issues. Of course you can be a great buddy and friend, understand what they originally assume to be their 'need' but that still doesn't give buyers the tools to manage the fight that the two team leaders are having, or get the old vendor to stop pushing their new software, or get users to buy-in to new technology. etc. etc. Buyers do this on their own. I'm suggesting that Buying Facilitation(R) be used so you have a different skill set that will actually lead buyers through the systems issues they need to address. It employs a new form of question I developed called a Facilitative Question that works with brain sequencing to help buyer's manage their decisions.
    I have written about this in my new book Dirty Little Secrets.

    thanks, paul… and my first name is both words – sharon drew