Why Is a 90% Failure Rate Okay?

This week’s blog is by Sharon Drew Morgen, the visionary and thought leader behind Buying Facilitation®, the new sales paradigm that focuses on helping buyers manage their buying decision.

As I was doing the final rewrites on my book, Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it, I realized how many times I mentioned my frustration with the failure of the sales model. It actually builds in a 90% failure rate – we’ve begun to expect it!

We hire 10 times more sales people than needed to get the results we seek. We get 50% longer sales cycles, face objections because people are responding to the sales model itself, and lose clients we shouldn’t lose.

What a waste – not only for sellers, but for buyers.

This doesn’t need to happen. The sales model is an incomplete one that we’ve accepted as a way to place our products. It works only at the product decision end of the equation (vs. Buying Facilitation, my model that manages the buying decision end of the equation), with no ability to guide buyers through the tangle of information that needs to be figured out before they can make a buying decision.

That tangle is where prospects go when they say, “I’ll call you back.” They have to make sure all of the people and policies that touch the Identified Problem are in agreement, that old vendor issues and relationships are handled, and that historic problems are managed.

Unfortunately for us, the sales model doesn’t help with this aspect of the seller-buyer equation. Buyers need to do this on their own.

Unfortunately for them, buyers don’t initially know the route through all of their decisions. We also meet them far too early in their decision process, leaving us waiting to close and not knowing what’s going on. After all, their need and our solution seem to be a match – but it takes so long for them to decide! What is the problem?

So we sit and wait. And 90% of the prospects don’t come back. Not because our product isn’t good or because our solution doesn’t match their need, but because their internal issues haven’t been resolved. Buyers won’t buy until they are. They can’t; they must maintain the integrity of their environment even if it means they don’t resolve their need.

The sales model doesn’t offer us the tools to help guide buyers through the route to all of those decisions. It’s difficult for sellers to understand the buyer’s buy-in issues, management decisions and technology factors.

But it’s quite possible to have an understanding of the decision making process – the route that buyers must make through their unique decision criteria – and then recalibrate our jobs to be not only solution providers, but neutral navigators or Buying Facilitators if you will. Much like a buddy to a sight-impaired friend, who knows where they want to go but doesn’t know the exact route to get there.

By focusing on the buying decision end of the equation, sales can be closed in months rather than years, and weeks rather than months. Sellers can stop wasting so much of their time and failing so often. Imagine if doctors or baseball players had the same failure rate!

Imagine if we could lead buyers through all of their unconscious decision criteria, help them discover who needs to buy-in to a new solution, and help them build our product into their solution design. Imagine!

Morgen’s book, “Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it,” goes on sale Oct. 15 and will be featured in the SalesJournal.com Store.