My interview with NY Times best-selling author, Sharon Drew Morgen


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Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Sharon Drew Morgen, author of the new book entitled, Dirty Little Secrets: Why Sales Can’t Sell; Customers Can’t Buy; and What You Can Do About It. You can listen to my interview with her by clicking on Interview with Sharon Drew.

Sharon Drew’s remarkable conclusion is that the solution sale is only a tiny part of the Decision Process and that the vast majority of the issues that the customer must deal with off-line and unrelated to your product sale.

A good way of illustrating this dilemma is to use an iceberg. As everyone knows, an iceberg is misleading. What you see above water is just a small part of what is below water and out of sight. It is that huge underwater and unseen aspect that most salespeople miss.


To illustrate the off-line systems that your prospective buyers deal with, Sharon Drew shares seven typical obstacles that they must resolve in order for you to win a sale.

  1. The people or technology that are providing a work-around for the Identified Problem.
  2. All of the rules that kept the status quo in place
  3. All of the initiatives that are working around and maintaining the Identified Problem.
  4. All of the people and departments that will be affected by the change that the new solution will bring.
  5. The budget: Where will it come from; the accounting practices regarding how the project will be monetized and for how long; what has to be moved around.
  6. Current vendor issues, including the relationships the buyers have had with vendors over time.
  7. Wildcards: whatever other stakeholders, financial, technical or people issues that need to be managed.

How does one go about identifying the part of the iceberg below the waterline? The answer is the Buying Facilitation™ conversation. The Buying Facilitation conversation is very different from a typical sales conversation.

Buying Facilitation Questions are not the typical BANT questions salespeople ask — about Budget, Access to Power, Needs and TimeFrame. Instead, Facilitation Questions go to the heart of the customer’s system. For instance, contrast these two approaches from a salesperson selling email software:

Traditional Sales

  • What are your goals for your email project?
  • Who will be involved in the decision?
  • What is your budget?

Buying Facilititation

  • How have your tried to address your email challenges in the past? Why didn’t it work? How will you know that it cannot be made to work?
  • How will you know it is time to replace your current email software?
  • How will your email software selection be deployed in such a way to eliminate chaos and risk of failure?

Sharon Drew describes this as a GPS approach. The customer needs to go somewhere and chooses the destination. You guide them there.

What are the benefits of this approach?

  1. Dramatically shorter sales cycles — cut by 1/2 or more.
  2. End of discounting. Sharon Drew says “Money is never the issue. Never, never, never.”
  3. You become a trusted guide and member of the decision team.
  4. Elimination of competition.

To learn purchase this book and learn about Sharon Drew Morgen, please visit Dirty Little Secrets and Sharon Drew Morgen.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jeff Ogden
Jeff Ogden ( is President of the Tampa based Find New Customers demand generation agency. .


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