April 21, 2010
Sell Holes, Not Drills
In 2008, I went to a MarketingSherpa
conference, an experience I highly recommend for any marketing professional. Not only will you learn a ton of new skills and review all your basics, youíll leave refreshed, inspired, and ready to do your job a thousand times better than youíve done it before.
At this conference (on B2B marketing) one of the speakers said something that inspired something like an epiphany:
Sell holes, not drills.
No one wants a drill, he reminded us. What they want is a hole, and they donít care what tool they need to buy to make that hole. They just want a nice, clean, perfectly circular hole, and they want to get it in the easiest, most efficient and least expensive way possible.
As marketing professionals, thatís how we need to think. Our clients want new customers. Or they want leads. Or they want to sell more widgets.
Regardless of the vertical weíre in, whether weíre client side marketers or agency strategists, itís our job to make sure that they reach those goals, and to make sure they reach those goals in the easiest, most efficient and least expensive way possible.
In other words, what our clients need from us are solutions. So many of us go to clients with a brochure of our services, offering them this, that and the other thing, convinced that what we offer is what they need. Thatís really not the way to think about it. We need to look at their businesses more holistically (or ďholeĒ-istically) and discover what their problems and pain points are. And then we need to look at those services and tools we have at our disposal, and decide which ones are the right ones to solve those problems and fix those pain points.
Thatís right Ė we need to sell them the holes, not the drills.