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  • Reading the Customer's Mind
    If people buy from people, how can we read our customer’s mind?  Often sales people neglect to focus on the…
  • Common Sense
    Wrong way Provide a quote from a customer/prospect requested list. Assume the customer always knows the solution Try to turn…
  • Changing your attitude
    Many sales people accept “the customer is always right”. Most IT Department personnel work for just a few businesses in…
Friday, 16 November 2012 09:50

If people buy from people, how can we read our customer’s mind? 

Often sales people neglect to focus on the individual’s perceptions when we are selling. Product or service features and even business benefits vary in importance based on the psychology of the person we call “the customer”.

Behavioural science has demonstrated we are creatures of habit. These habits define us and make us different. Many sales people sell the way they would like to buy. This has one obvious flaw. 

Customers often see the world differently to sales people. 

The keys to improving your sales results can often be just improving your understanding of the people you deal with. The customer’s IT team, pre and post technical personnel, finance and logistic people, sales admin team and back office personnel will require skilful co-ordination to ensure effective result from your sales time. Sales people who best manage their people resources consistently produce better sales results.

Sales people ability to understand, influence and motivate these people is key to helping you achieve your sales results. Knowing your product’s technical details or even your competitor’s secrets has rarely proven to be the major reason for hitting your sales target.

Product specs and competitor information goes out of date very quickly. Understanding people styles has a life time of uses.

In the fast and furious world of selling, customers can’t compete with the “people skills” of most sales people. Consequently they learn to control their emotions, trust and communication, resisting rapport building, covering up their real intentions and resisting the relationship development.

Sales people typically compensate by dominating verbally and filling in the “moments of silence” with lots of chatter and assumption making.

Understanding your customer’s preferred motivations & interests create more open and honest discussion, trust building & rapport.

Key factors are noticing the differences between the customer’s language and their unconscious behaviour. Often these are incongruent, indicating there is a distinct difference between their words and their real thoughts. 

Your customer’s response is in their behaviour, not their words! 

Selling today is complex enough. Sales people can no longer close large sale alone! Building a virtual sales team is vital. Management, service, financial & logistics and operations are key to achieving your sales results.

Sales people must learn to influence and communicate in order to align everyone’s efforts to achieve the customer’s desired outcome.

Using internationally recognised BELBIN® Team Roles behaviour model, our SALES PSYCHOLOGY training program train your sales people how to question, negotiate and close, by adapting their behaviour style to better match their customer preferences. This results in increased familiarity, trust and open communication.

Being able to assess how customer’s think, what outcomes they need and how they rationalise their decisions increases negotiation outcomes, acceptance of solution proposals and conclusion to sales. 

Friday, 16 November 2012 09:50

Wrong way

Provide a quote from a customer/prospect requested list.

  • Assume the customer always knows the solution

  • Try to turn everything into a solution

  • Respond to a tender you knew little about  

Right way

  • Do your homework to earn “right to suggest alternatives”

  • Ask naive questions

  • Why do you need to replace this?

  • How will this help the business?

  • Do you really need this or is it just something you’d like to have?

  • Sorry why are you upgrading this again?

  • How will the business justify this?

Use your common sense. It’s worth more than all the technological knowledge.

Understand and adapt you natural skills and offer these as services (eg, attention to detail, ability to coordinate people, logical evaluation, systemise processes).

Admit you know little but are keen to demonstrate your value You’re here to help and you will make up for lack of knowledge with enthusiasm to prove your worth.

Sell in every direction. Vendors, your own departments (eg, technical, support, warehouse, finance)

Sales pitch techniques

Selling Technology is not really about techniques; it’s about explaining and delivering your value proposition.

  • What value do your other client’s indicated you have brought for them?

  • What IT projects have you been involved with elsewhere& what have you learnt?

  • How does your business differentiate what it does?

  • Which skills, based on training and different IT environment experiences, can it demonstrate?

Each customer situation has to be somewhat tailored. This is the law of Sales Psychology.

For example, IT people generically tend to be more process, system , IQ logical evaluators & professionally orientated.

 Whereas sales people tend to be strong verbal EQ communicators, rapport builders, influencing and relationship focused. Sales people tend to sell to their “own” kind with the typical result being a misunderstanding of IT’s real needs.

If it is true “people buy from people”, we need to take into consideration the behaviour types of people we are selling to, in order to develop suitable levels of trust, which is vital for the sale to progress.

Friday, 16 November 2012 09:49

Many sales people accept “the customer is always right”.

Most IT Department personnel work for just a few businesses in their careers.

Yet technology sales people would visit half a dozen IT Departments a week.

  •  who would have more exposure to which technologies are valuable to IT today?
  •  who would know which technologies have a business impact and which don’t?
  •  who knows which technology projects meet business expectations and which are financial disappointments?

The role of technology sales people today is “to propose alternative to help their IT customers improve their current OPEX cost equation.”

Consequently, the “always right “phase needs an additional clarification.

‘ …..provided they are made aware of other viable alternatives”.

In the next few years data rates are expected to grow by almost 50 times1, electricity costs to triple2 and technology processor and hard drive densities to continue to expand at unrecognisable rates. IT has never been under such scrutiny. Technology is now entering the age of “Infrastructure Re-investment”.

We know severs, storage, software and personal devices have life cycles. But often these are built on a bandaid approach instead of OPEX cost assessment. How often have you investigate the financial returns on changing your customer’s technology life cycle plans?

Just like our cities, business is quickly out-growing its technology platforms. Our cities demands for water, electricity, transportation, housing & health have pushed them beyond their afford threshold, resulting in cost blowouts.

Current needs have outstripped the current infrastructure operational cost model.

Similarly IT Departments are now limited by their high operational cost models and the technologies limited ability to meet future business expectations.

The opinion of our politician’s ability to run cost effective cities is now similar to how IT suffers from a “useless department” reputation from their business. Just think…..

‘How do you rate your own IT department’s value’?

As Technology sales people, our focus should be to spend time helping our customers uncover alternatives to this growing OPEX costs blowout.

“Selling Technology” has definitely changed. No longer can we afford to wait for our customers list of requirements. They need an external perspective from those who can assess and compare multiple IT environments …. Technology sales people.

Spending more time completing customer quotations rather than proposing more relevant ways your customer could change their OPEX cost equation, won’t help your customer’s future.

Instead question and understand their future technology objectives. Research and propose alternatives to your customer’s quote requests..

Enhance the IT Department’s reputation by building their “confidence” to present technology changes ahead of business demands.

These innovative approaches require technology industry understanding, people influencing skills, “what if” perspectives plus confidence of making a difference. Most of these qualities today’s technology sales people already possess.

Sales people need to stop being the customer’s “best friend” (for fear of losing the business) and start offering innovative and alternative solutions.

How are you going to help your customer tomorrow?

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