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Understanding Needs Does Not Close A Sale

By Sharon Drew Morgen

This past week I placed 700 cold calls. That's right. Seven hundred. Count ‘em. I have been seeking visionary sales training managers that have interest in licensing new program content (Buying Facilitation or Facilitating Buying Decisions) and it's impossible to find visionaries through mainstream marketing.

So I called. And called.

I learned a lot: 1. how I felt by 4:00 in the afternoon - exhausted, annoyed, mischievous, and vaguely victorious - as a telemarketer; 2. how sales leaders - VPs of Sales, Sales Managers, and Heads of Sales Training - perceive their level of success in relation to how they decide to add course titles; 3. how much willingness corporations have for exploring out-of-the-box material.

Interestingly, of the 200 people that I actually got to speak with, I heard the same thing over and over again: "We are Relationship Managers. We truly care about giving our customers great products, great service, and fair value. We take time to understand their needs before we introduce our products, and only offer product data if we think we can help." All said with a somber tone to convey the basic belief that they teach the skills that exhibit care and connection, problem-solving and information gathering. I heard those sentiments close to 100% of the time.

Lovely. Except it doesn't work. Each of them said that they were still closing less than 10% of their prospects (from first prospecting call to closed sale). Therefore, they must assume that what they are doing, and the commensurate results, is successful. So that's what success looks like.


The real question is what is going on here? Wanting a real relationship with your customer and caring about their needs is like Mom and Apple Pie: you can't argue with that sentiment.

But let's get some reality here:

1. if that plan of action were successful, they'd be closing a lot more than under 10%.;

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2. everyone is doing the same thing. Every. One. That means that everyone is being nice-kind-smart-caring-service oriented. That means that you are no longer differentiated. And if you can't differentiate by being nice-kind-smart-caring-service oriented, what does that leave? Two things: a. price. If everything looks the same, the only differentiator becomes price. b. personal preference. You have to find THAT prospect that you hit it off with really well (i.e. your selling patterns match her buying patterns). Yet if personality is the deciding factor, you better go out and visit lots of people to find those whose personality is similar to yours.

3. understanding the buyer's Identified Problem is only a small fraction of the route toward a buying decision, and a secondary one at that. Not to mention that the seller will never understand the full range of unique, internal issues the buyer needs to manage before being able to buy. Problem solving questions certainly don't teach the buyer how to examine those areas beyond the bounds of the Identified Problem that have gotten them, and keep them, where they are at and would need to be reconfigured before change can take place.

4. an outsider will never, ever understand the full range of elements that buyers live within: before they can make a purchasing decision they must manage and shift the elements that created their status quo, or Identified Problem.

Continue reading this article.

About the Author:
Should you wish to learn more about this, go to and purchase my ebook Buying Facilitation: the new way to sell that expands and influences decisions

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