You repeat your request. And then you hear: “The customer thinks they can do it themselves”


You mute the line. You swear. And then you realize this is reality. A common hurdle you face is overconfident customers. They think they can solve their problem on their own. The customer asks “Can we do it ourselves?”  The Buy vs. Build Guide will help your team. The guide will enable your customer to quantify the choices and answer this question. Four benefits you and your team will receive:


  1. Increase the probability of the customer choosing to buy.
  2. Reduce the number of deals that move to no decision.
  3. Prevent your team from alienating customers due to deal mismanagement.
  4. Identify when and how to structure the buy vs. build discussion.


Let’s look at how these benefits can be achieved.


Sales Process


Your Customer’s Problem

If your customer could have solved it without you, they would have already. Not necessarily. Many times, you introduced your customer to a problem of which they were unaware. That is what every sales leader wants. A sales force that delivers new insight. This is much different than answering active demand. If your sales force creates new demand, the buy vs. build discussion is essential. Your sales training must focus on couching this discussion through fear and greed. 


Your Customer’s Fear

The debate around fixing a problem internally or using outside help is natural. Your customer doesn’t want to be exposed. People make decision to avoid pain or derive pleasure. Fear of pain typically drives action faster than the thought of deriving pleasure. The fear lenses for your customer:


BossHis boss expects him to know these answers. He was put in his role to fix these things.

PeersHiring a third party is a sign of weakness in some cultures. Your customer doesn’t want to be exposed.

Team – Your customer wants to appear knowledgeable with his staff. He doesn’t want to lose credibility in front of his team.


Your Customer’s Perspective

There are four main categories that a buyer considers when building a solution vs. buying a solution. In each category there are a series of detailed questions they ask themselves. A sample is below. The complete list is here.


Sales Buy or Build Guide 3


Your Value to Your Customer at This Stage

Your job is not to prevent the customer from wondering if they can build. Your job is to teach the customer how to properly answer this question.  If you are dealing with a mid-level leader, ego and empire building may be in play. It is important to recognize this and embrace it.


What are the implications of doing it yourself and getting it wrong?”

The customer has made the decision to do something. The only thing that will matter is the results. The activities of whether they bought or built will be long gone.


Download the Guide and Quantify the options. Help your customer answer Can we do this ourselves?”.


You cannot rush your customer. You have to be prepared for them to decide build is a better option. The decision to buy or build goes through your mind when considering a solution. Your customer is no different.


Show Don’t Tell

As a sales leader, you have your finger on the pulse of the big deals. Of those big deals, how many of them are considering “doing it themselves?”


  1. Assemble the Big Deal Review team. Use this opportunity to view it from the customer’s perspective.
  2. Dissect the deal through this approach. Be objective with your assessment.
  3. Prepare your rep to show your customer a new approach to solve buy vs. build. Make sure he understands this is not criticism.


What else have you done to help a customer answer “Can we do this ourselves”?



Matt Sharrers

Studies and works with the top 1% of B2B sales and marketing leaders who generate above average revenue growth for their companies.

Matt is arguably one of the industry’s most connected, and physically fit, sales leaders. He “lives in the field.” As a result, he is the foremost expert in the art of separating fact from fiction as it relates to revenue growth best practices. Because of Matt’s unique access to the best sales talent, private equity investors tend to turn to him first when they need to hire remarkable leaders to unlock trapped growth inside of their portfolio companies. Matt’s recent engagements include work commissioned by private equity leaders Permira, TPG, Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman.


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