People Don't Buy Drills...

People Don't Buy Drills Because They Want Drills –

People Buy Drills Because They Want Holes.

     I have seen this aphorism (and other similar variations) in multiple blogs and articles recently, and it seems particularly relevant for the B2B Sales Rep.

Drill Photo stock

More simply stated: A tool is only as good as the solution it provides.

This might seem obvious, yet the majority of Salespeople are taught to focus on the product – specifically features and price.

"My company's drill is cheaper!"

"Our drill has five different speed settings!"

To both of these proclamations, the prospect is probably thinking, "Yes, but which one drills the best holes?"

In Sales, intuitively, selling something tangible is an easier task. You can hold it in your hand, you can point out its color or shape or buttons. But focusing solely on the tangible could lose you the sale! Sales isn't about products, it's about solutions.

Extending the example, here are some ways to focus on the “holes” instead of the “drill”:

  1. Begin at the End: Why would you try to sell your prospects something before you know what it is they actually need? Sure, it would be great if everyone needed the exact same product for the same purpose and you happen to sell it. But in the real world, every prospect will have unique challenges and needs. Beginning with the end result, finding out where your prospect wants/needs to end up, makes it easier for you to discuss the solutions you can provide rather than the tools you can sell.
  2. Keep it Simple: This advice isn't new, but it certainly applies. Talking about your product's special features, bells, and whistles can be a red flag to today's savvy prospects. One of the products you sell might be a drill with 5 speed settings, 20 bit attachments, and come in 8 colors – but all of this should be secondary to the drill's ability to make the perfect hole. Only when your prospect is impressed by the solution will they care about extras.
  3. Be the Expert: You probably have every bit of information that exists on your company's line of drills (assuming you’re a conscientious and knowledgeable Sales Rep). But how much do you know about wood, or metal, or the day in the life of a contractor or construction worker? You can't help your prospects make a good decision if you don't know what happens with your product on the other side of the sale. This is going to require personal time and effort, but the knowledge will legitimize you and your offering.
  4. Forget About the Drill: Once again, it's not about the drill, it's about what the drill will do for the prospect. In fact, your prospect would probably buy an entirely different tool if you could prove that it makes a better hole. Keep the focus on your ability to solve a problem or make a process more efficient.
  5. Ask More Questions than you Answer: Having an answer for all of your prospect's questions is crucial to a good sale. But if you really want to make a good impression and provide a service (instead of just sell a product) you'll have to ask a lot of questions. What other solutions has your prospect already tried? What is currently their biggest challenge? When you listen to your prospect's answers, it will be more obvious to both of you where you can help. Questions also lead to organic conversation, which builds rapport and keeps you top of mind when your prospects are in need.

Whatever it takes!
*by Maria Getto

* The Rainmaker team has over a decade of experience consulting, building, and executing extensive B2B Marketing campaigns. Our blog is a place to share philosophies and impart our knowledge and experience on the Business community, and the entire Rainmaker team contributed to the content of this article. Not only do we practice what we preach, we can also help you and your company start more conversations. We open the door, you close the deal. Contact us for more info.


June 24, 2016