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Dirty Little Secrets


Book reviews > Dirty Little Secrets


Sharon Drew Morgen, Dirty Little Secrets, Morgen Publishing, 2009


Now and again, somebody adds something new to an overcrowded field, and sales is certainly that. There are thousands of 'How to be successful like me' sales books and a good few encyclopaedia of sales methods. 'Dirty Little Secrets' by Sharon Drew Morgen is neither of these, and as she says in the introduction:

"I’m going to introduce you to the missing pieces in sales—the dirty little secrets that have kept us locked-in to the type of results we’ve gotten used to. I’m going to teach you how teach your buyers to buy."

If you're into business change, by the way hang on in here. This is for you too. Selling and change, it seems, are tightly intertwined.

A basic problem in selling is that although the sales person may convince the company buyer that the deal is worth doing, there are many other people who also need persuading. This is generally known, so what does this book add? Read on.

Morgen was a successful sales person who became a buyer and quickly discovered that such people live in a complex world of competing needs, internal politics, resource constraints and more. And yet the sales people who approached her did not really understand this, treating her like hers was the only decision and that she has full authority to sign on the dotted line without any internal consultation.

Her subsequent researches found that yes, many sales people did know that the buyer had to get internal commitment, but the sheer complexity of this process was very seldom appreciated. What is also seldom known is that the buyer may not appreciate the complexity either, and it can be as frustrating for them as it is for the sales person.

What Morgen shows is that companies are self-sustaining, complex systems and that sales attempts often rock the system boat, which rebalances itself by rejecting the purchase. You must thus address the system, not just the need, identifying critical problems that must be resolved before the sale can be completed.

Tricky, huh? No wonder so many sales efforts mysteriously bounce. To make things worse, the selling company has a system too, that forces the sales person into certain ways of working and may block them from effectively addressing the customer system. Double trouble, as they say.

After framing the problem, the book then goes on to detail the Buying Facilitation method, including how to find the Identified Problem, use Facilitative Questions and more. It delves into practical psychology, unpicks how systems buy, and how you can teach the system to address its own issues. It is a very Socratic method, using questions to awaken buyers and others in the system and help them fix their problems that will allow them to change, improve and (of course) buy.

What is gratifying is that the Morgen spills the beans on the whole method, describing in detail and giving copious real examples of how it works (and how not doing it properly fails). Too many other books have little real meat and are little more than than thinly disguised attempts to sell the author's consulting or training packages.

A word of caution: this is not simple stuff. Not everyone will go 'aha' and understand straight away (I didn't). It needs persistence and some faith, but the results can be so spectacular it surely is worth a good go. And yes, you could probably benefit from Morgen's help, though she doesn't push it (so demonstrating the power of the method!).

I'm not sure about the book's title and I do hope bookshops know what shelf to put it on, as it is a star addition amongst a sea of repetition. 'Dirty Little Secrets' is not a show and tell celebrity book, though it does show and tell sales people how to multiply their sales by taking their sales hat off and facilitating the corporate buying process. It's a tricky idea and not everyone will get it, but the results can be so powerful every sales person should buy and study this book in detail.

In fact, it's one of the best manuals on changing business minds I've ever found (and I've read a few), so it's also highly recommended to anyone who wants to influence, persuade and move the thinking of other people in pretty much any complex organizational environment.


For more information, start here:



Buy Me

Sharon Drew Morgen, Dirty Little Secrets, Morgen Publishing, 2009 

A brilliant addition to the sales process which can significantly boost your bottom line. Very highly recommended. Also great for any business change.



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