Sell holes, not drills, to get more customers
Sales & Marketing for Professional Services & Sales Tips

Sell holes, not drills, to get more customers

November 10, 2014

by Tony Vidler

 When people go to the hardware store and buy a fantastic electric drill they are not usually terribly interested in the drill itself.

They want a hole.

This is an elementary truth about consumers buying behaviour  They buy products for what the products can do for them, not generally because they just love the gadget. There are exceptions of course – some people just love gadgets and hoarding, and some products are simply cosmetic and people buy them because they look beautiful.  The vast majority of products and services are created to help a consumer achieve a desired outcome however.

In professional services this entirely true.  I don’t know anybody who caresses their life insurance policy document on a saturday night, or who lovingly reads a product brochure to their child every night. I sure don’t know anyone who gets their last tax return out and admires the accuracy of the form….

Most professional services clients simply do not care about the products most of the time.  They care about what the products can do for them.

So if you want to get more customers then you need to be marketing the “hole”, not the “drill”.

This is especially true when it comes to defining and then articulating your unique selling proposition, or value proposition as I prefer.  (As an aside, the reason I prefer the latter term is because it more accurately focuses on the value you create rather than what perhaps makes you a great salesperson).   The value you can create for potential customers is what should be at the core of your marketing message. It should resonate through everything you do and say publicly…it should become your “promise to the market”.

The “hole” in this analogy is the outcome the customer wants.  The “drill” is simply a means of achieving that outcome.  It is just a tool.  So it is with financial services products, and so it is with compliance-based services.  They are just tools.

Focus the marketing messages on the outcomes they produce.  Focus your value proposition on THE consistent outcome you create, which customers value.  Then tell your target market about it,and you will get more customers.

© 2013 Tony Vidler.  All rights reserved.
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