An Outside idea: Do you sell drills or holes?

Theodore Levitt (a Harvard economist) often said that ‘People don’t buy a quarter-inch drill. They buy a quarter-inch hole.’ In other words, people don’t buy products or services, they buy solutions to their problems.

If you don’t know what problems your audience has or how you’re helping solve these problems, you might find it difficult to convince anyone to buy from you.

Warning though, when doing this, try not to get too high off of your product’s features. No one cares about features.

Instead, address your audience’s problems, their “pain points” by articulating how your product or service would benefit them.

To help you understand just how confusing (and boring) listing off features can be.

Imagine you’re looking for a web hosting service and you come across these two websites:

The first says

‘Our software can handle multiple cores of data at the same time which means during increased loading times, and your server will be stable.’

and the second says

‘Even if your site gets featured on the front page of The BBC and brings in 200,000 visits an hour… your site won’t go down.’

I’ll take 2 please. And so will you. Because we have absolutely no idea what is going on in 1 or how it can help us.

Steve Blank, a former Google employee, devised the following method for getting your message straight. We love it.

We help X do Y by doing Z.

That’s it, simple huh… Start with your X – That’s your audience or (avatar – if you read last week’s email), Your avatar’s challenge (Y) and your Z – which is your solution.

We’ve got a handy printout you can download to help you get clear on your message which you can find here.

Onwards and U
pwards my friend.


About the author

My clients build brilliant businesses and spend more time with their families.

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