Selling With Integrity

Sales Book Review Selling With IntegritySelling With Integrity

Sales Book by: Sharon Drew Morgen

Summary by: Rob Reed


Introduction – Selling With Integrity

Most buyer and seller relationships are typically adversarial. Sharon Drew Morgen suggests the reason for this complex relationship is that sellers have historically focused on controlling the buying process and using all necessary means to convince buyers to buy their products.

In Selling with Integrity, Morgen offers an alternative approach. She has designed a sales methodology called Buying Facilitation. This approach instructs the seller to “guide” the buyer through the buying process while maintaining personal principles and values.

The book jacket promises a completely new way to look at sales, and that’s what you’ll get, since Morgen puts helping the buyer far ahead of making the sale.

Summary – Selling With Integrity

Sharon Drew Morgen asserts in Selling with Integrity that the major problem in the traditional buy/sell relationship is that the seller arrives believing that he or she has the answer the buyer needs. It follows, then, that the traditional seller’s task is to convince the buyer — or help the buyer realize — that the solution the seller is offering is the right one for the buyer.

It really doesn’t matter why the seller has this attitude, whether it’s because of training, corporate culture, personality, or the basic need to make some money and put food on the table. In every case, according to Morgen, it puts the relationship between the buyer and seller on false ground, introduces stress, and produces undesirable behaviors, including dishonesty.

You may be inclined to dispute the idea that seller attitudes are bad for the buy/sell relationship, but consider a fictional example that Morgen presents early in the book. It involves a waiter in a Chinese restaurant, whose job it is to sell you food, and you, the diner. In the example, the waiter comes to your table and immediately says, “So, you’ll have spareribs and chow mein.”

You, of course, aren’t so sure, and you say, “No. Hello. I’d like to see a menu, please. I’m not sure what I want.”

But the waiter has his own idea: “You don’t need a menu. I know what you want. It’s our special tonight. It’s priced fairly and it’s delicious. It’ll be spareribs and chow mein. Believe me, I can tell that’s what you’d like.”

Here is Morgen’s comment on this — “You wouldn’t let a waiter do that. But as sellers you do it all the time: I know what you need, and what you need is my product.”

For Morgen, this example illustrates the point that sales as it is practiced in American industry today is based on disrespect of the buyer, the buyer’s knowledge, and the buyer’s ability to make an informed and effective choice on behalf of his or her employer. Morgen asks why it is appropriate to base a salesperson’s monetary compensation on a system that at its foundation encourages disrespect.

Can Sales Be Optional?

The message of Selling with Integrity is that it should not and does not have to be that way. Instead, Morgen proposes the Buying Facilitation approach, which might be summarized as “Service is the goal; discovery is the outcome; a sale may be the solution.”

Whoa! You may say. That’s a nice sentiment, but, hey, I’ve got to eat, so “a sale may be the solution” doesn’t work for me.

Morgen’s response is to cite a number of anecdotal examples demonstrating how Buying Facilitation results in sales and satisfied customers. Moreover, she asserts that Buying Facilitation will cut your average sales cycle in half. This will occur because you will only be talking to potential buyers who can truly use your product or service and who are therefore genuinely qualified prospects.

In addition, she says, with Buying Facilitation you help the buyer make sense of how a purchase will affect the complex environment of the buyer’s firm, leading to quicker, more effective decisions. This happens because Buying Facilitation surfaces issues rather than concealing them.

She believes that you, the salesperson, will welcome surfacing difficult issues, because a) they must be resolved in some way for a sale to take place in a complex environment, and b) if they can’t be resolved, chances for a sale are low, and your time will be better spent elsewhere.

What’s Different About Buying Facilitation?

Morgen compares the beliefs and skills involved in Buying Facilitation to both the traditional sales approach and the consultative sales approach. Here are some examples…[Please click to learn how to get the rest of this sales book review and much more.]