People don’t buy drill bits, they buy holes

People don’t buy drill bits, they buy holes
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I recently redecorated my office and wanted to hang something fairly heavy on the wall. Heavy enough that I was going to need a wall anchor in the sheet rock. That wall anchor required a decent sized hole in the sheet rock.

So how did I get that hole in the wall?

drill-bitsWell, I had options. Any of these items – a rock, an ice pick, and a drill bit – will put a hole in the wall. The rock will make a hole, but it will be a big hole with ragged edges and is really more suitable for demolishing the wall than it is for installing a wall anchor. The ice pick will make a hole, but the hole would be too small for the wall anchor, but it might work as a pilot hole. The drill bit was just right. The hole was the perfect size.

So off to the building supply store I went to buy just the right drill bit.

But did I really want to buy a drill bit? It’s not like I collect them. Drill bits are not good for much of anything except making holes in stuff. So, no, I really wasn’t shopping for a drill bit. What I really wanted was a hole. A very specifically sized hole in sheet rock. The drill bit was just the tool to get me that hole.

Looking over the selection of drill bits, and may I just mention that there is a HUGE variety of drill bits, the packaging design really surprised me. I was expecting “Drill bits”, but the labels and boxes were a great deal more informative.

Some of what I saw on the packaging that meant the most to me included:

  • clean, accurate holes and reduces lock-up on breakthrough
  • greater control and rounder holes
  • designed to cut in metal, stainless steel, aluminum, brass, wood, nail-embedded wood, plastic, fiberglass, drywall, fiberboard, and composites

The common theme was: these all describe the hole I’m trying to make, not the drill bit.

When the drill bit was described, it included a description of why that feature mattered:

  • titanium coating for longer life
  • high-speed steel treatment for maximum durability
  • 3-flatted shank won’t slip in chuck
  • diamond-ground carbide tip for precise starts in tile and hard stone

Clearly, the manufacturers of drill bits have figured out that people don’t buy their product, they buy what the product does for them. Have you?

I would love to be able to tell you that I have always been perfect in my marketing, but that would be a lie. I’ve evolved from listing out features/techniques/buzzwords to talking about benefits. Even now, I sometimes catch myself listing out features. It’s easy to do. It’s what we know about.

As the subject matter expert, it’s easy to forget that your customer doesn’t really care how something works but that something works. No one cares that a drill bit has a 3 flatted shank, but if you’ve ever had a drill bit slip, you can really appreciate a drill bit that won’t. It will save you time, and give you better holes with less damage to the material you are drilling. That saves time and money.

3 flatted shank = less time and money wasted

People don’t buy your product or service. They buy what it can do for them.

Take a look at your website, or your closest competitor’s website. How are you talking about your product? If you want to get the edge on your competition, you’ll quit listing features and start talking about the benefits.

Your competition says: You say:
increases circulation to muscles reduces recovery time injury
exercises and stretches to prevent injury tips to help you avoid aches and pains when landscaping this fall
your website built on the most popular CMS a website you can edit and update yourself

Write about your customers’ concerns, not yours

Your website copy is not about you, it’s about them. What’s in it for your customer? If you concentrate on that perspective, you can’t go wrong. Even drill bit manufacturers work hard to understand what their customers really want and then write their marketing copy around that. Even drill bit manufacturers know that they are selling holes.

This requires vigilance (and editing)

Writing good website copy is not simple. By using a website tool like WordPress, though, editing your sales text is easy. So easy, that you can update it yourself.

I’m going to send you off with a bit of homework: review one page on your website and edit it to emphasize what your customer will be getting from your product or service.

Do you have a question or a feature that you need some help rewriting? Pop it into the comments below and let’s see if we can’t help out.

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"Act as if it were impossible to fail." - Dorothea Brande