minivan graphic versus computer graphic

3 Ways Buying IT is not like Buying a Car

Let me start by sharing a story from Literally: The Book on Customer Success for MSPs.

“There came a time (and many of you may relate) when I had to buy a minivan. Let’s be clear. I didn’t want to buy a minivan, but the daily carpool required it.

In general, I find any experience of buying a vehicle terrible, regardless of how nice, thoughtful, or gracious the salesperson is. “Pleasant” is not something I am looking for while buying a minivan. A minivan is what I am looking for.

On this particular day, it was pouring rain. My husband and I drove around the dealership lot with two car-seated kids in tow. I hopped out and checked the sticker price and features on a few minivans. Then we headed inside to buy the one I picked out.

We told the salesperson we wanted to buy that minivan. He said, ‘Well, let me get you to test-drive it.’

A debate ensured. It ended with me saying, ‘Look, I don’t want to buy this minivan, but I am going to buy it. I suspect it drives exactly like my parents’ of the same make and model. So if you want me to buy this minivan, then skip the test-drive and process the paperwork.'”

Some of you may be thinking, actually, buying IT is exactly like buying a car:

  • No one wants to pay for it.
  • They just want it to work.
  • It starts to lose its value the second you buy it.
  • Many folks don’t replace them when they should.
  • They waste time, effort, and money in using outdated/past EOL ones.

If those thoughts crossed your mind, you are thinking about IT the commodity, you are not thinking IT the business service. And that shift in thinking is the difference between an IT sales and a strategic partner/trusted advisor. (There are often eye rolls at those words because many struggle to make the leap from one to the other and others do this naturally.)

Here are the 3 ways buying IT is not like buying a car (oh for those selling this way – you are being strategic partners).

  1. Buying a car is focused on getting you from point A to point B and back again. Buying technology should help businesses get from point A to B to C and beyond raising the bar and hitting higher targets each time.
  2. Threats to cars are obvious and car shoppers evaluate cars based on safety requirements. Cybersecurity threats to businesses are not common sense. It is the MSP/IT Salesperson to educate their clients on those risks.
  3. Car salespeople do not become “part of the family.” Managed Service Providers should operate as business consultants to steer technical decisions and have a seat at the table. This includes strategic planning around budget forecasting and technology roadmaps.


business meeting with 8 people seated at the table two are shaking hands

Sales and Customer Success in the world of car buying involve handshakes, coffee and a key chain. Sales and Customer Success in managed services involve an understanding of business goals, guidance on how to reduce risk and strategic conversations to help businesses grow.

If you would like to have a conversation about what those three differentiators look like, reach out any time to

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