Where did the sale go? I seem to have lost it.

Where did the sale go? I seem to have lost it.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at gitomer.me.


Lost a sale?

What did you blame it on?

Who did you blame it on?

In my 22 years of training salespeople, I’ve never had one person come up to me and say, “Jeffrey, I didn’t make the sale, and it’s all my fault.”

Excuses like: Our price was too high, the guy said he had a satisfactory supplier, we didn’t win the bid, and other such lame excuses except the real one: The salesperson did not ask the questions which helped the prospect find a solution his product would address. The salesperson could not create enough understanding in the mind of the prospect to get them to BUY.

Sharon Drew Morgen thinks she has the answer to the lifelong question, “Why can’t I make the sale?” Cool, but there’s a hitch. You have to change the way you think about and the way you approach the sale. Rats.

Well, how come she has the answers and you don’t? Simple, she trains salespeople and writes about the selling process based on her successful career as an “on-the-street” saleswoman.

Her book, Selling with Integrity, a New York Times Business Bestseller, introduces and teaches Buying Facilitation (her trademarked process), a sales strategy to support buyers in discovering their unique criteria for finding their best solutions. Her philosophy embraces the fundamental principles that seem to elude the “competitive” salespeople (the ones who sell price, and seek to solve problems rather than find solutions).

PLEASE NOTE: This is not Sharon Drew Morgen’s system of selling. She does not have one. Nor does she believe in one. Rather she employs strategies that lead the customer discover how they need to buy. These are her principles of sales success:

1. People only buy when they have all their own answers. The length of time it takes people or teams to discover their own answers is the length of the sales cycle.

2. You must have a buyer in the buying position. The seller must include all relevant aspects of the decision in his questions in order to bring in all decision points in the possible ‘BUY’ Before making a purchasing decision, the buyer/prospect must cover 3 areas:

  1. They must have the ability to navigate their decision making structure/strategy;
  2. They must come up with a solution which is congruent with their values;
  3. They must have appropriate information.

Most sales deals with the information piece, and support the other 2 only in relation to the product.

3. Get on their team as fast as you can. The seller will get on the team through his questions and commensurate trust which gets created. If the product is not a fit, there’s no need to be on the team The seller’s ability to serve the client’s decision navigation will determine the possibility of the seller joining the buyer’s team and will shorten the sales cycle dramatically.

4. People buy when they know they cannot take care of the problem in house or by themselves. Part of their decision navigation is a complete look at how they might do it themselves and what has stopped them from doing that. Where they cannot fix it themselves, they must have the criteria on how to choose and work with an external supplier. And you must be willing to give up your need to sell in order to support buyers in their search for their own answers.

5. Create decision support and solution finding before information. Offering buyers information at this point in our history when they can get any information they want in moments is moot. We have gone from push to pull, from the Age of Information to the Age of Access. Information on it’s own is just a tiny piece of the pie.

6. Sales has been about product sale and market creation. Salespeople have the responsibility to question and listen to the buyer. This process gives the buyer his own ability to discover how, what, where, when, and if they need to buy. Without this discovery they will do it themselves via the internet.

7. Sellers have been trained to use selling patterns. Buyers only use buying patterns. The ability of the seller in getting rid of his/her selling patterns, or the luck of the seller in finding people who buy the way they sell, determines how successful the seller is.

8. Approach the job of sales through serving. If you do, you will lose your need to be product/sale oriented. Instead you will make the conversion to be willing to “support your customers by helping them find their own best answers,” rather than “need to make a sale.” Big conversion.

9. Salespeople need to discover their clients, not create them. Most people don’t know how to decide to use us or our products. Others don’t need us. We must support the first group, and learn how to recognize and not waste time on the latter.

These are great answers BUT they are not easy answers. They require hard work to understand, master and implement most salespeople won’t do the hard work it takes to make selling easy.

There are very few sales trainers and writers who get that selling must be replaced with supporting the buying process. Sharon Drew Morgen gets it. She gets that salespeople become known (and successful) by the questions they ask.

Very few salespeople get it either but they’re easy to find. They’re the ones at the top.