Morgen Facilitations, Inc.

PITCHING TOO SOON: how I got it wrong

I recently received notices of multiple purchases from the same man. On one form, he completed a questionnaire saying he was considering using some of the thinking within my Buying Facilitation Method® in a sales training program he was designing.

Ah! A prospect! A prospect with a need!

I decided to call him and see if together, we would be able to figure out how to best get his needs met. And, as usual before placing a prospecting call, I set about creating a mind set for myself based on supporting:
* his decisions – to use Buying Facilitation with authorization,  and the way to discuss it in relation to conventional sales models;
* his criteria - for making new ‘sales’ model available for others;
* his offering – to discover the best route to help the new thinking be accepted;
so they could achieve their goals.

Generally speaking, my normal conversations actually use Facilitative Questions on my communication partners so they can experience the strength of the Model and simultaneously make necessary decisions. I mean, they do that on a good day.

I prepare in this way before every conversation . I meant to prepare for this one also. Really I did. Until something in my mind decided that if ‘Frank’ had already purchased materials and had already decided to use Buying Facilitation in his training, he was ready to buy. And I knew he’d need some additional support and material if he planned to actually train the Method.

So I picked up the phone and made a sales call. And I didn’t look back. Until I realized I was making the same errors that I teach my clients to avoid, and hearing the same sorts of responses my clients get: I used product information to try to maneuver (or shove!) the prospect into the ‘need’ to choose the desired outcome I wanted. In other words, for a moment, I thought that with a great product, a great pitch and presentation, an obvious need, and great kindness and care, I’d get Frank to understand he needed to hire me to help him.


Before I get into the ugly reality of what I did, let me offer my standard beliefs so you can see how far off of my own internal truth I got. I offer this sad tale so you can see that we all make mistakes. But be kind to me, please. I don’t so this sort of thing often. And yet, like my addiction to potato chips, it’s always sitting there, calling to me. And I work hard to ensure I don’t succumb to the temptation of that wonderful hope that this time, this time, my pitch would be so directed, and my powers of persuasion so brilliant, that the prospect will immediately recognize that s/he needs me! S/he needs me! Right.

Here is what I was missing from my thoughts before I picked up the phone:

  1. when I read that Frank was going to add Buying Facilitation to his program design, a red flag should have gone off: my publicly available materials introduce Buying Facilitation and systems thinking material but (sadly) do not offer the actual skills necessary to train someone. Mistakenly, people cherry-pick ideas that concur with ones they already are biased around, and often miss the point of the model, not to mention much of the application and skill sets (systems listening, presumptive summaries, the systems progression model, formulating Facilitative Questions) need to be taught;
  2. the person didn’t call me – I called him. This is a big one for me. I sell a visionary model and folks who actual seek a new selling model call me. I rarely make outgoing prospecting calls unless as per referral. This time, I decided he needed to speak with me. I admit it.

So given the above, I actually went beyond all of my beliefs about why and how and when to pitch:

  • I know that it’s only time to pitch after the person has decided what needs to happen for him/her to congruently bring in a new solution, including managing the necessary people/policy-based internal activity to achieve that;
  • I know that pitches are meaningless until the buyer understands:
    • what information the decision team would need to help them decide;
    • why they need it;
    • how it will specifically relate with their end result;
  • I know that only a simple pitch is required once buyers figure out how to make a buying decision, and the properly worded Facilitative Questions have been used that teach them to manage their internal buying process.

But I didn’t listen to my own teaching. Mea culpa. What caused this slip, you might ask? I had just gotten off the phone with a prospect that moved our training ahead a month while his new team got some practice under their belts. Therefore, I’d possibly have no site work for a month. Exasperated with the length of that sales cycle, and with no training work for an extra month, the thought that I’d now be in my office for weeks made me feel like I had to DO something, that I was not successful, that I was indeed doing something wrong. Instead of realizing that I’d actually have an extra few weeks to work on my new book, I panicked. I set out to TAKE CONTROL.

So here’s the sad story of the conversation. It’s one I’ve heard from my clients for 20 years, and one I use as a coaching example of what not to do. I’ll also include my errors in italics. There are a whole lotta italics.


SDM: Hi, Frank? This is Sharon Drew Morgen.
FRANK: Who? (Oops. He had just purchased my books and didn’t recognize my name! You KNOW I’m in trouble here!)
SDM: The woman who wrote the books you just purchased?
FRANK: Oh yah. Hi.
SDM: Is this a good time to speak?
FRANK: Sure. (Really in trouble… No “Cool. So glad to hear from you!” Or anything approaching acceptance and agreement. Or even excitement that he was speaking with the author of books he had in his hand. My ego took another slide downward. It fueled my determination to CLOSE. )
SDM: It seems like you have a lot of interest in learning about Buying Facilitation.
FRANK: I do. I’m designing some sales training and want to add material on Buying Facilitation.
SDM: What is your outcome? (Bad, bad bad. I do not need to know how or why Frank will make the choices he needs to make ! This information is only necessary for me to know when it’s time to deliver the appropriate solution. We’re nowhere close to that yet. For some reason, I was acting as if this were already a closed sale: in my addled brain because he had strongly exhibited a ‘need’ and I had ‘the solution’, that he was ready to ‘buy’. But I was wrong, wrong, wrong. This is one of the main mistaken thoughts in sales – that a problem + need = purchase - and I fell right into it.)
FRANK: I am starting up a training company in the insurance industry. I want to show how traditional and consultative sales no longer work, and introduce Buying Facilitation as the new way we need to be selling. (Did I not hear that he said he was ‘starting up a training company’? Start ups have no money and no clients.)
SDM: Wonderful. How exciting. (I should have shut my mouth right here, and let him respond.) Do you know exactly how Buying Facilitation works with the other selling models? (At this point, I was so deep into information gathering and sharing – stage 2 of the Buying Decision/Product Decision Funnel - that I was driving the conversation around Need and Product description/pitch, which would only meet my needs (to do WHAT with?? Exhibit some modicum of control??), rather than teaching him how to design a solution that melded me into the solution design.) I’m wondering if it would be helpful for you to understand this better (Here I go way off of the tracks and offer a pitch, assuming this person knows how to hear it, knows what he needs from me, and is an actual buyer!)

I proceeded to give Frank a wonderful pitch, explaining oh-so-conscientiously the differences between sales and Buying Facilitation, about helping with the buying decision rather than pitch product (ha ha ha), etc. The bomb came once I was finished spouting.

FRANK: That sounds good. I haven’t read any of your material yet, and we’re just starting up our company, so there would be no funds to hire you. I see that your material is copyrighted and I can’t use it, but I thought I’d create a program that gave students some ideas that you mention in your books. Then we could have some discussions and so forth. And maybe, after a year or so of being in business, once we start getting some income, we can have you come in and do it right.

If I were a conventional seller, I would have to go into overdrive here to ‘manage the objections’, objections that I had actually created myself!!


Here is how the conversation should have gone. And for those of you who distrust the route or the outcome of a role-played dialogue, read Buying Facilitation: the new way to sell that expands and influences decisions ( Or I’ll give you a referral.

SDM: Hi Frank. My name is Sharon Drew Morgen and I’m the author of the books you just purchased. Is this a good time to speak? I noticed that you purchased a couple of my materials, and might have some serious interest in learning the Model.
FRANK: Oh Hi. Yes. I’m starting up a training company and plan to teach the different sorts of sales models, focusing on Buying Facilitation as being the new way to sell.
SDM: How exciting. And thanks for recognizing the value of Buying Facilitation. How are you going about choosing which parts of Buying Facilitation you’ll highlight?
FRANK: The plan is to introduce all other selling models, and then introduce yours to show the difference, and have people understand the difference between selling and helping someone decide how to buy.
SDM: That’s wonderful. And good for you for understanding the difference between sales and Buying Facilitation. I’m wondering how you are planning to actually make some of the skills available since they aren’t written up in any of my material?
FRANK: There’re not? Oh. Anyway, I just thought that I’d introduce the Model. I didn’t realize the skills of using it aren’t readily available.
SDM: Unfortunately, there is no precedent in our normal communication that teaches us to listen for systems, or guide people through their own decision patterns. It’s been a challenge to teach those skills in a book. But we have several training programs, depending on what you want to walk away with.(This is all the pitch I need.) What would you need to consider to determine the level of skill you want to offer or what you might need from me to support your new training?
FRANK: Hmmm.. I am just starting out and haven’t figured out yet how we’re going to partner with anyone. This program I’m designing will be one of our first offerings. How do you usually help folks learn the material?
SDM: There are choices for types of in-house programs, coaching, telePrograms, or licensing. But it sounds like you might not have the funds to do any of those since you’re a start up. What would we need to discuss to figure out if it would make sense to work together as a team and have your clients buy your ‘Intro’ program, and have me deliver the Buying Facilitation training if they want to learn more?
FRANK: So I would train a 2 day program to those who want introductory material, and you could be a training partner and offer the rest – and at some point maybe I could get licensed to train it myself.
SDM. Perfect.

The difference is obvious: he would be led through to his decisions on lining up his internal criteria and fold in my product as part of his solution design. Win-Win.

And the question I always ask remains: Would you rather sell? Or have someone buy.




There are several new products I’m designing that might interest you. Please contact us at with questions. I am seeking corporate partners to pilot one of them for us.

Sales PDA – I have a patent pending on a PDA tool called The Expediter©. It’s a coach-in-your-pocket and walks through each step of a sale. The first module is now complete – the Sales Recovery module, that:
1. thoroughly defines each step/stage of the sales process – what should be happening, and when, and offers immediate fixes to get you back into the game in each stage;
2. logs each client interaction and follows the progress of the sale;
3. tracks each step and keeps a file on where you are with each sales situation and client.

The Sales Recovery module will correct lost opportunities as well as guide the seller through the buying decision route, without needing to know or understand the Buying Facilitation Method® model.

Next modules available: objection handling, gatekeepers, and prospecting.

Real Estate PDA – This uses the same software as the Sales PDA but is targeted for the Real Estate Industry, including:

  1. scripts and steps to a sale using Buying Facilitation scripts as a foundation;
  2. every scenario (truly – every thinkable scenario) that agents encounter;
  3. an elegant, reliable pathway to collaborative decisions;
  4. a method that teaches the prospective seller how to choose you just from your first contact;
  5. a route toward a closed sale;
  6. scripts to manage each element that was incomplete (script for the message you must leave to get a return call and move the sale forward, for example).

Hobbes© is a search tool that sits on top of a search engine for those site visitors who may be faced with many options on your site. It teaches them how to recognize the criteria they want to have met from your site and leads them directly to those pages that meet their criteria with four Facilitative Questions that take appx 19 seconds to answer.


There are several sites and conferences that I’m a part of, and I think they are cool enough for you have a look at. Each, in their own way, offers an array of sales information – from consultative to Buying Facilitation, Zigler to Gitomer, from closing techniques to getting to VITO, from free to high-priced – that you can cull from as you need. Enjoy. has been around the longest. Jeff Blackwell, the man who runs the site behind the scenes, is a realtor with a huge heart and a commitment to help the world of sales be filled with integrity. With Jeff’s strong commitment to creating collaboration, it’s a community-based site – there is even a huge blog for Buying Facilitation in which people ask me questions about the Model. This site is free. offers you reams of data from most of the top sales experts. What to find out how to pitch? Get advise from me, or Tony Alessandra, or Tom Hopkins. For an annual fee, you’ll have access to all you can handle from the best and brightest. has a collection of articles, recommendations on product and books, and a blog. Clayton Shold is filling the free site with the best and the brightest.

www.Sales2.0 is the companion site of a company that offers conventional sales training. But Nigel Edelstein is always on the lookout for what’s new and what’s next. Have a look. He always has some interesting articles on the site (including some of the essay’s you’ve read here). is a Sales Event happening May 12 in Toronto. I’ll be speaking there, with other sales experts, best-selling authors of sales books, and will focus on customer relationships, new paradigms (that would be me), and increasing productivity. You’ll have to register for it, and there is an entrance fee. Should be exciting and informative. If you go, come up to me after my talk so I can say “Hi”.

As always, we are here to serve you.

All Content Copyright© Morgen Facilitations, Inc. 2008