When Does a Buyer Buy?

Updated: November 05, 2009

You're not going to like what I have to say: If a buyer truly needed your solution they would have either bought it or resolved their problem already.

David Sandler called the buyer's need ‘Pain.' But think about it: If you broke your arm, would you wait weeks/months/years to get it fixed? Of course not. So how can buyers wait to resolve their need when it seems so obvious that choosing our solution would create a state of excellence that they are not experiencing already?

It's not because they don't have a need, or because they don't appreciate you, your solution, or excellence. They wait because their system - that grouping of people, policies, rules, relationships, initiatives, group assumptions - that has created the ‘need' is the same system that is holding it in place.

Think about any extra weight you might have, or your inability to stop smoking, or your reluctance to work out as much as you know you should, or eat healthier. You've been talking about managing those issues for…for how long?? You have the need, right? You have the "pain," right? What's the deal?

You will change - just like your buyer - when the system you live in (your work hours, your family issues, your identity and ego issues) is willing to be or do something different. Having a great gym near-by, having great clothes a size smaller, having a doc tell you you must shape up - none of those things are enough to get you to change (or you would have).

Unfortunately, sales only manages the need/solution part of a buyer's buying decision, and has no tool kit to help the buyer recognize and manage the off-line, behind-the-scenes issues that must be addressed before the system is willing to make a change. Is the other department ready to bring in a new X? What about the old vendor? How will the team know how to choose between resolving This problem or That?

Sales doesn't manage those issues. But decision facilitation does: Buying Facilitation® is a change management, decision facilitation model that is NOT SALES but is a model sellers can use to help buyers recognize and manage their internal issues in order to insure buy-in for change. Just like you won't lose weight, or work out more, or eat healthier unless you have internal buy-in (we don't make decisions to change based on good data, or someone else's opinion), so buyers won't buy until they know that their system will remain intact and healthy after the addition of the new solution.

Buyers will buy when the team buys-in to adding something new and getting rid of the old, when it's clear the regular vendor can't do the fix, when the other departments know how they are going to work alongside of the new solution. Sales doesn't handle these issues, causing us to wait forever for buyers to decide, or to lose really good prospects that seemed a good fit. Start by recognizing that sales just manages one piece of the buying decision, and consider adding Buying Facilitation® to your skill set.

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