EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


September 30, 2012

The difference between needs, wants and happy customers

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?

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