Drill or Hole? What Are They Buying – and What Are You Selling?

Drill or Hole? What Are They Buying – and What Are You Selling?

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at gitomer.me.

Drill or Hole? What Are They Buying – and What Are You Selling?

A guy walks into a hardware store and says to the clerk, “I need a drill.”Clerk says, “Well, not really. You want to make a hole.”

If you’re in retail and your customer comes in and says, “I need a drill,” or “I want a drill,” or “Where are the drills?” you, the salesperson, begin some response dialog.

REALITY: He didn’t come for a drill. He needs a hole.

Now you may have heard some version of “drill-hole” in your career, but you have never heard what the situation is, how to address the buying motive, how to take control of the sale, how to gain trust, and how to create a vision of “outcome” in the mind of the buyer.

HERE’S THE REAL LESSON: (And it can be applied to ANY sales situation where the buyer is wanting a service or a product and needs your help to “find the right answers and achieve the required or desired outcome.”) If you ask, “What kind of drill are you looking for?” you’re asking an annoying, self-serving, time wasting, price-based question. Zero value to the customer. Wrong direction to close a value sale.

It’s likely the customer has NO IDEA what kind of drill he wants – and you, in your sales brilliance, are gonna point out the “drill aisle” and be done with it. You smile and say, “They’re in the hand tool area over by the wall” or “Here’s what’s on sale.”

NO! This is your opportunity to become an advisor rather than a traffic director. So far you don’t know WHAT KIND OF HOLE THE CUSTOMER NEEDS.

  • How big (what diameter) of a hole are you drilling?
  • What kind of material are you drilling into?
  • How deep is the hole?
  • Are you drilling inside or outside?
  • If you’re trying to show the customer the 3/8ths inch drill “on sale” and the customer needs a half-inch hole, you’re gonna have an unhappy customer. If you know it’s a half-inch hole through a wooden post, you can recommend the right drill, and also tell them they need a “starter hole” with a smaller drill bit to ensure a perfect outcome.

    OK, you get it! Drill – hole – want – need – outcome.

    But how does this apply to you and your sales?

    Well, it applies to every sale that everyone makes – including yours:

  • I need a filling in my tooth. No, you want to be healthy and pain free.
  • I need copies. No, you want to send a proposal in color that reflects your image and wins the sale.
  • I need a new roof. No, you want to have no leaks, and enjoy quality of life.
  • I need a credit card. No, you don’t have cash, or you don’t want to spend your cash.
  • I need tickets to a concert. No, your favorite group of all time is playing and you have never seen them before. It’s on your bucket list!
  • I need to find a restaurant. No, you need to eat.
  • I need new tires. No, how do you use your car now? How many miles are on your present tires? City or highway driving?
  • I need a flight to New York City. No, why are you going? What will you do after you arrive? Where are you staying?
  • NOTE WELL: Just because you don’t have what the customer needs, does not mean they no longer need it.

    If I call a hotel to book a room and they say, “Sorry, we’re full,” I respond, “Oh, I guess I don’t need a room after all.”

    Think past “sale” to “genuine need and desired outcome.”

    What does the customer need or want to do AFTER the sale is made? And how can you show him or prove to them that you have the answers, and you are the best choice to create the best outcome? A happy ending, if you will.

    That’s what the customer is really buying: OUTCOME.

    It’s not what it is (a perceived need) – a drill.
    It’s not just what it does – makes a hole.
    It’s the desired outcome – the result of drilling the hole.

    As a salesperson, if you’re looking to successfully sell at your price, build a relationship, and earn a referral, you better stop selling the features and benefits of your product, and look to what happens after the sale – after the customer takes ownership.

    GOOD NEWS: If you are able to find (by uncovering and asking for) the desired outcome, and agree that your answer, your solution, or your idea will be the best one – the customer will buy.GREAT NEWS: When the outcome comes to pass, the customer will tell Facebook what happened.

    Want insight on buying motives – to help yourself answer the question What makes me want to buy? Go to www.gitomer.com, register if you’re a first-time visitor, and enter the word EMOTION in the GitBit box.