Sell the Drill, NOT the Hole

July 29th, 2020

Sell the Drill, NOT the Hole

A common cliché in sales training is “Sell the hole, not the drill.”

This maxim stems from the idea that if a person is buying a drill, it’s not because they really want a drill, but because they want a hole. And you should focus on the problem they want to solve, rather than your product. For example:

• What do they need to put a hole in?
• Where do they need the hole?
• How many holes do they need?
• How often do they need to make them?

All of this information is important and valuable.

And yet, it’s overly simplistic. Because you still have to sell the drill. Assuming the person is going to buy a drill—and buy it from you in particular—is dangerously arrogant and can lead to lost sales.

Here’s the thing: There’s a lot of ways a person could create a hole:

• Saw
• Auger
• Chisel
• Ice pick
• Handgun
• Walrus tusk
• Plastic explosive

Arguably, some of these options are worse than others, but the point is, the prospect doesn’t necessarily need a drill to solve their problem. And even if a drill is the obvious answer in their mind, they don’t necessarily need to buy one. They could conceivably borrow one from a friend, relative, or neighbor.

So you actually need to sell the drill. Which is largely guiding them to the right drill for them, based on their needs, budget, and preferences. Helping them understand things like:

• What are the differences among the brands you carry?
• Why should they buy a particular model in your line?
• Should they buy the top-of-the-line drill or the entry-level drill?
• Corded or cordless?
• Do they need the ultimate bit assortment or the basic bit set?

And then, not only do you have to make a case for the drill itself, you have to make the case for your company as the seller. Why should they buy it from you??? Especially when there are dozens of other retailers who would happily sell them the exact same drill. (Many for less than your price.) Failing to adequately answer this crucial question can result in your prospect walking out empty-handed.

Focusing on your buyer’s problem or goal is valuable. Focusing exclusively on it is a mistake. Because there are so many more elements in the sales process. I haven’t even touched on customer experience, listening skills, follow-up, or closing—all of which are essential to your ability to sell a drill.

So don’t get so hung up om your prospect’s need that you forget to make a strong case for your product and your company. Because the hole isn’t the whole story.

Nine Ways to Boost Your Optimism

July 21st, 2020

Nine Ways to Boost Your OptimismThese are turbulent, uncertain, scary times. Which makes a sense of optimism even more important than usual. How can you stay optimistic in the face of so much negativity and uncertainty? Here are nine things you can do.

1. Reminisce
Write down times when you faced a challenge whether it be in sales, another area of business, or your personal life. Remember how you overcame it.

2. Make a strength inventory
List out your personal strengths. Then list out everything else you have on your side. Remind yourself of all your assets.

3. Do a daily review
Write down three good things that happened each day. What made you smile? Or laugh? Or feel grateful?

4. Read biographies of successful people
Every person who has ever achieved success experienced challenges along the way. Let their triumphs inspire yours.

5. Surround yourself with positive quotes
There are literally thousands of inspirational quotations. You can find them all over the internet, including here, here, and here. Post a few of your favorites where you’ll see them regularly.

6. Try the “Best Possible Self” exercise
A meta-analysis of 34 studies found that the “Best Possible Self” exercise can create small but measurable increases in positivity and optimism. Here’s how to do it:

1. Pick a time in the future, e.g. 6 months, 2 years, 10 years.

2. Visualize your best self, living your best life. What are you doing? Where are you living? Who are you with? How are you spending your time? What goals have you achieved? What is bringing you joy?

3. Write it down, in as much detail as possible. What does it look like? How does it feel?

7. Regulate your news intake
When the news is bad, overconsuming it can be draining. Don’t completely ignore the news, but ration your intake. Scan the headlines so you know what’s going on, but don’t dwell on it and get sucked into the negativity.

8. Spend time with positive people
Speaking of sucking you into a state of negativity, that’s exactly what toxic people do. They are inherently miserable, and their goal is to make others miserable too. So avoid them as much as possible. Instead, increase the amount of time you spend with people who are positive, optimistic, and encouraging.

9. Consume inspirational content regularly
People often refer to me as a motivational speaker, although that’s not quite accurate. I’m really more of a sales speaker. However, I do know a lot of motivational speakers. People like:

Dr. Bertice Berry
Walter Bond 
Brené Brown
Roger Crawford 
John Crudele
Pegine Echevarria
Scott Friedman
Randy Gage
Elisa Hays
Willie Jolley
Brad Montgomery
Stacy Pederson
Billy Selekane 
Marilyn Sherman
Jim Smith, Jr.
Dawnna St. Louis
Dan Thurmon
Iyanla Vanzant 

And that’s just a sampling! And they’re all producing uplifting, energizing, inspirational content via tweets, blogs, books, videos, and podcasts. Check them out.

Optimism is a key ingredient in achieving success—in sales or in any other endeavor. So it’s critical that you remain positive despite the fear, anxiety, and negativity all around us. Make use of these nine strategies as often as possible to keep your sense of optimism healthy. It will help you not just to survive these trying times, but to succeed despite them.

Call Me the %&#$ Back

July 7th, 2020

Call Me the %&#$ Back I recently helped my 82-year-old aunt move from Maryland to Texas. Part of that effort included contacting a variety of businesses: the moving company, the title company, utilities, banks, two phone companies, and more. And at various points in the process, people from five different companies promised to call us back.

And never did.

When I finally reached them—or someone else—as a result of calling them back, I received excuses. Lots of excuses. But the damage had already been done. We were beyond disappointed. We were pissed. In some cases, livid.

Think we overreacted? If you’ve ever been involved with an interstate move, you know how difficult it is to coordinate so many different elements. Now throw in a global pandemic, racial protests, curfews, and business closures and the complexity skyrockets. Along with the stress.

We didn’t need more of it.

Think about that for a moment. My aunt was paying all these companies to relieve her stress, not increase it. And yet, increase our stress was precisely what five of them did. By not following up with answers and information when promised, they made our jobs—and our lives—more difficult.

When you—or someone from your company—fails to call a prospect or customer back, it not only elevates their stress, it also:

• creates frustration
• makes them angry
• erodes trust in you and your company
• damages your brand

Which can result in your potential buyer:

• Leaving negative reviews on social media and review sites
• Trying out your competitors
• Losing interest in what they were thinking of buying

All of which hurts your sales, revenues, and profits.

And you can avoid all of it with a simple phone call.