Monday, October 19, 2009


is not a good number. This came from Jill Konrath's email newsletter:

Why is a 90% Sales Failure Rate Okay?

Posted: 15 Oct 2009 06:11 AM PDT


Today's blog post was written by Sharon Drew Morgen, author of the excellent new sales book, Dirty Little Secrets. She's also the author of the New York Times bestseller, Selling With Integrity.

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

This doesn’t need to happen. Sales is just an incomplete model that we’ve accepted as the 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 their tangle of stuff’ that needs to get figured out before they can make a buying decision.

It’s 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, that historic problems are managed. Unfortunately for us, sales doesn’t help with this aspect of the seller-buyer equation and buyers need to do this on their own.

Unfortunately for them, buyers don’t initially know the route through all of their decisions either. And we 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. It’s because their internal issues haven’t been resolved, and 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.

Sales doesn’t offer us the tools to help guide them through the route to all of those decisions: it's certainly difficult for sellers to understand the buyer's buy-in issues, management decisions, 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 recalibrate our jobs to be not only solution providers, but neutral navigators - 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, weeks rather than months, and 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.


Read the first chapter of The Dirty Little Secret: Why Buyers Can’t Buy and Sellers Can’t Sell and What to Do About It.

This book has my personal endorsement.
If you're serious about sales, you'll want to read it. Sharon Drew Morgen offers deep insight into customer decision making. Plus, she shares fresh new strategies to help you:

  • Shorten the sales cycle.
  • Become a trusted advisor.
  • Win more business.

I've followed Sharon Drew's work for years now and I always learn something new from her. You will too.

P.S. Get the book between Oct. 15 - Oct. 21 and you'll get some excellent bonus resources too.

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