28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2010
It's too bad that books are written these days to sell people and companies rather than instruct.
This book fits in this category.
Here is what it's all about: Sellers don't recognize that for buyers to buy, a change must happen within the buying organization. That's all.
Sharon Drew takes up over 200 pages to repeat herself, over and over again, but offers no way to actually do what she is selling. Clearly, she wants you to spend money on her, nothing more, nothing less.
Equally important is that we've known for some time now that to unseat a competitor or to win a competitive battle - the norm today - buying organizations must make a change. Sharon Drew tell you that you will never know how to make the change but also tells you that you must be the catlyst - a big contradiction.
The one insight that might help you is the idea that as a seller you are "installing a business solution not selling a product" but again, nothing instructive about how to do that - no system, no methodology, nothing about the how to of it all. You'll have to, and you can, do it yourself if you have been selling.
It's really too bad that publishers publish such poor stuff.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2011
This author adds an important new dimension to the field of complex B2B sales!
To explain you what I mean, here is a short history of sales theories:
* Around 1990, authors like Neil Rackham helped us move from product-centered HARD-SELLING to PAIN-BASED SELLING, i.e. they learned us to search for and grow customer' problems, open the customers' eyes on a solution, etc. In other words, they learned us about 'consultative' B2B selling.
* Around 2005 authors like Marc Miller and Jill Konrath, add GAIN-BASED SELLING, i.e. they learned us to not only focus on pains, but to also discuss customers' strategic objectives, to always have a strong and relevant value proposition at hand, etc.
* In 2009 Mrs Morgen adds 'change management' (what she calls 'buying facilitation') and she is so right:
Pains and gains alone don't make compelling reasons to buy! Even if the customer is well aware of a problem and all its negative consequences, and even if he understands the vision of the presented solution and bought into it, then still:
-For every problem, there is a workaround
-The system (and every customer operates within a system) holds itself in place, prefers the ''status quo.
-NOTHING happens, until every component in the system understands what needs to be done to bring the whole system to a new, higher level (which also needs to be level of 'rest')
Hence, what is needed is: change management, with a focus on the buying (and buy-in) process.
In practice this means asking new types of questions, next to (and even before) the traditional problems exploring facts, problems, objectives, implications and solutions.
Why I gave this book 4 stars in stead of 5: For me, the book is at times too repetitive and I would have preferred it to be more to the point and with many more good, concrete examples.
I'm in B2B sales since 2005, and I like to read sales books and blogs. If you are the type who plans to read only one or 2 sales books in your life, don't choose this one. But if you are a professional B2B sales person, who constantly wants to improve his/herself and is hungry for the very best advice, read it, next to reading some of the classics.
I highly recommend:
- Tom Hopkins for all basic sales stuff (more targeted towards B2C sales though)
- Paul Cherry's "Questions that sell" to get a really good feeling about how exactly to formulate your questions.
- Neil Rackham's "SPIN selling" for learning the basics in B2B sales questioning techniques
- Jill Konrath's "Selling To Big companies" for golden practical advice on how to address new prospects.
- Marc Miller's "Selling Is Dead" for learning to adress gains not just pains, and for learning how to make a stunning Value Based Proposal. This book is a must-read if you sell a B2B product that is really innovative and new.
- And this one for learning to think in terms of systems and change management.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2009
Sharon Drew Morgen's book is a big step into a universe few salespeople ever knew existed ... the sale behind the sale ... what customers really do when they say, "We'll think it over and get back to you." If you've never heard that, then you (a) aren't actually a salesperson, or (b) you don't need this book. Sharon goes into great depth about the Internal Sale ... what goes on internally in an organization when Your Customer wants what you're offering, but must sell it internally in order to get a go-ahead. It's most revealing and talk extensively about the REAL process that goes on behind the scenes -- (1) "can we stretch our existing system a little further to cover the LATEST problem? (2) OK ... we can't ... what is our CURRENT vendor offering? (3) how do we present it to management ... the LAST time they weren't too happy with our request; how do we make it seem that the previous solution was 100% good, but (something we did or didn't anticipate) has overwhelmed it? It's a critical and informative analysis of why current sales methodology (SPIN, Solution Selling, etc.) still aren't cutting it, esp. in today's economic decline, and how to step into this critical but otherwise unseen world where sales live or die beyond our vision and our ability to influence.
In conventional sales process terminology ... it is a (very) elaborate Qualification process that examines ... via a creative dialogue with the customer/prospect ... just what the likelihood of getting a sale will be given existing solutions, internal politics, ability of the customer to field your product/solution ... even IF they buy it. It's very good reading ... esp. the second time.
However, Sharon's book has a significant shortcoming ... she fails to spend any significant time discussing ... how to raise customers/prospects interest at the onset. Her approach is essentially to construct an open, probing dialogue (dialogue goes beyond mere conversation) and use questioning techniques to unveil internal buying and political processes in order to influence them. But, her approach starts ... in the middle. There's no discussion of HOW you get to that initial point of raising the customer's/prospect's interest in your product or service ... so you can have that dialogue. She decries the conventional product-push/value prop approach saying that it marks the salesperson as aggressive and presumptuous and/or arrogant ("how would you know anything about our real needs", she would paraphrase the typical customer/prospect's reaction to the typical sales presentation). But she doesn't give us any guidance on how to get the sale started.
I value her book/concept (Facilitated Buying - her copyright) as the back-end, the real sales-engine, once the customer expresses interest in the product or service.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2011
I certainly had high hopes for what I assumed would be the content of this book. I assumed that I would find actual buying facilitation questions and methods. It is empty of substance and high on creating a desire to buy her systems.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2009
Change is difficult for most of us and especially difficult for an organization full of individuals. Some of us resist, others encourage, others sabotage. If we want our organization to get change right, we've got to involve everyone who will be affected by the change and allow them to prepare themselves, their departments, and the organization's systems to handle the change in an orderly manner--or everything turns to chaos, and if chaos is an anticipated result, we simply won't institute the change no matter how potentially beneficial that change may be.
Buying creates change.
Whether purchasing a new product, replacing an existing vendor, or instituting a new program or service, when your prospects contemplate purchasing your products or services, they and their organizations are going to undergo significant change. Often that change never happens (that is, you don't make a sale), not because your product or service doesn't solve a real issue they have or because it won't improve their sales or because it won't improve productivity or reduce expenses. In fact, a great deal of the time purchases of products and services that have these very positive results are not made because the company can't handle the change--yep, even extremely positive change--the product or service will create.
What does this mean for sellers? It means the way we sell is all wrong--or at least the way we deal with the concept of selling is all wrong.
Sharon Drew Morgen in Dirty Little Secrets: why buyer's can't buy and sellers can't sell and what you can do about it (Morgen Publishing: 2009) changes the whole concept of the sales process. We sellers have been taught that we find a suspect, qualify them as a prospect, connect with them, identify a problem or issue, develop a solution, close the sale. Morgen says that this vision of selling is all wrong because it doesn't take into consideration the change management issues that must be dealt with before our prospects can commit to making the purchase.
According to Morgen, when our prospects disappear--when they say "I'll get back to you" and never do, where they've gone is to deal with all of the behind the scenes issues they must deal with prior to making the commitment to purchase. Why do most of them never get back to you? Morgen says because they have not been able to get the people or the systems within the company in alignment to make the purchase. Worse, all of this change management stuff is stuff that we as sellers have little knowledge or understanding of.
If all of this change management must take place before we can consummate a sale and it's all out of our hands, is there anything we can do to either speed up the process or help the organization manage the change?
Yes, Morgen says, we can help facilitate the change by engaging the company--our buyer--with the Buying Facilitation method. This method, whose primary tool is Facilitative Questions, helps get all the necessary players within the company on board and leads them through thinking through the changes necessary to make the purchase possible.
Sound mysterious? This isn't rocket science but it's a far cry from light reading. Fortunately, Morgen makes it easier to understand by dividing the book into three sections.
The first section lays out the change management issue from the buyer's perspective. She gives us insight into the changes a purchase necessitates--from its impact on individuals to company politics to systems. She gives a great example of what a buyer must go through when making a simple purchase of a couple of extra dining room chairs (I'll leave it to you find out on your own by reading the book why it's so difficult to sell a couple of chairs).
Section two goes through the process from the seller's point of view, demonstrating where our traditional sales process has left us and our prospects high and dry.
And the third section details the Buying Facilitation method skills. Buying Facilitation is about change management, not selling. It is the precursor to selling, not a replacement for it. It involves its own set of skills that don't replace your selling skills but instead allow eventually using those selling skills more effectively and closing more sales.
If you really want to begin to understand why your closing ratio is so low, if you really want to know why those prospects never get back to you, if you really want to know what your selling process is missing, read Dirty Little Secrets.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2011
It should frighten you that this book has been out for 15 months and only has a few reviews. Not many are buying it because WOM (sales/marketing term for "word of mouth") is poor or non-existent. The book is NEARLY as boring and lacking in information as Sharon D's webinars (which she uses to sell more stuff you don't need from her). "I'll give you the house but not the keys to the house" she continues to say. WTF? (HUH?) You have to keep buying her materials in order to supposedly get those proverbial keys to open up that house of hers no doubt chock full of super sales secrets (oh wait, this is not a sales book according to SD) that will help you to be as good as she is at selling solutions. Her biggest claim to fame? Selling to Wachovia - no longer in business due to financial collapse. A bank called Wells Fargo took them over last year. Even Wells Fargo is a mess too as they had to take $25 billion in taxpayer funds to stay alive. I'm sure Sharon D "helped" them out too. Pass on this one folks. Tons better out there. "SNAP" selling is a good start. At least you get the keys to that house...
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2012
If you are a sales rep, or running a sales team, this is a must read if you really want to get to the next level. It definitely requires you to open your mind up to new ways of doing things, but if you're willing to commit to a different approach, it's absolutely amazing the results you see happen right before your eyes. It's like a whole new language of selling. Not only do I now understand how buyers buy (and how to adjust my selling techniques) but I learned how people actually approach the way they make decisions. This is an important book for anyone, NOT just sales people.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2009
There's a terrific, provocative and challenging book on the stands today -- Dirty Little Secrets: Why buyers can't buy and sellers can't sell and what you can do about it. Sharon Drew Morgen's book unveils what lies beneath the buying decision process, layer by layer, until you finally get that Eureka moment that it's got nothing to do with the product.
We, as marketers and sellers, focus on identifying triggering events, needs or problems and begin addressing those as a way to build relationships and get our prospects to buy from us. As I was reading her book, I realized that we're actually a bit late to the party and trying to sneak in through a side door.
In Dirty Little Secrets, Sharon Drew shares a wealth of examples to help us understand what goes on behind the scenes. She puts clarity around status quo by showing that all "systems" have workarounds in place that keep things functioning, even if not optimally. Untangling those workarounds is often the barrier to making a sale.
Sharon Drew writes:
"Any Identified Problem shows up as a functioning part of the system, since it is indeed functioning in some capacity. At the point that the system determines that it needs to be functioning better is the point at which buyers are ready to buy. And the systemic elements that have kept the Identified Problem in place will fight for their lives to continue doing what they are doing."
"No decision to purchase will take place unless the people and policies included in the workarounds buy in to change and the elements are redistributed in a way the system approves."
The key is to help buyers manage their offline change issues prior to our attempts to focus them on solving the problem. When we don't do this, or our buyers can't do it on their own, the decision made is to do nothing at all. The system wins the battle to maintain status quo.
Or they make bad decisions that perpetuate mistakes that slow their ability to gain successful outcomes. But what Sharon Drew does is show us exactly what we need to do to help them avoid these scenarios.
Sharon Drew points out that the issue is often that buyers have tunnel vision when it comes to dealing with issues. They're simply too close to them to see the entire spectrum they must address to get true resolution. Our job as marketers and sellers is to help them step back and take an objective stance that enables them to see the entirety of everything involved in solving the problem.
Dirty Little Secrets is all about showing you how to "facilitate the route through to the buy in process." Sharon Drew does a magnificent job of making this easy to understand. In fact, when I read it myself, I had a V-8, head-slapping moment. I believe a lot of us know this subject matter subconsciously, but I've never had a better way to articulate it and get to the root before I read Sharon Drew's book.
And, in case you think this is just a sales book, I warn you - the insights can help marketers who are earnestly trying to map content to buying stages reach even farther back to engage prospects earlier in the process in a more productive way.
Go Buy the Book!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2013
This book is the worst sales book I have read in my entire life! The writer takes 200 pages just to say that we need to help buyers buy, but offers no methodology or process to follow. Well, actually she does, in page 225, she tells you to go to one of her websites and buy another one of her books where she will explain in detail the "extraordinary successful methodology" code-named "Buying Facilitation" that will bring you all the great results. The question is why didn't she include it in this book ? Because she wants to take more money from you. I can assure you that I will never waste again my money and my time on any of her other books. Once you finish reading this book you will feel fooled and angry, and wanting your money back ! That is the "dirty little secret" that you will find out after reading this book.
Don't be mislead by the 4 and 5 star reviews, as most of them have been writen by her "friends", other authors of selling books. I guess this is the way to fool the naive buyer, just get writers of other bad books give you good reviews in exchange for your good reviews to their also very bad books. So they are all happy and making money and you are poorer, angrier, and fooled, and they can all have a good laugh.
The best books on sales I have read, with really proven successful methodologies that work, are the following:
Major Account Sales Strategy, by Neil Rackham
Spin Selling, by Neil Rackham
Solution Selling, by Michael T. Bosworth
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2011
Sharon Drew Morgen in Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can't buy and sellers can't sell
and what you can do about it is all about the change required in the concept of selling process.
As a seller we are taught to locate a subject, turn them into a prospect, get a hang of them, find
the problem or issue related, find or develop a solution to the problem and then lock the sale.
Sharon Drew defines such sale as inappropriate to create a sale as it does not consider the issue
connected with the change management which must be dealt with the prospect before
committing to make the purchase. Sharon drew also talks about the prospect that disappears
saying we will get back to you and never come back to you. She explains about the transactions
the prospects have to do before making commitment of purchase. Sharon Drew explains the
reason which binds the prospects to come back is the people or the system inside the company or
the organization which fail to align themselves to make such purchases. The solution which
Sharon lays in front of us is the buying facilitation method. The buying facilitation method
assists us to make the change required in the company by engaging the buyers with the buying
facilitation method. The buying facilitation method helps to get the important people in the
company onboard and guide them all the way through the change vital to make the sales.