The classic line in marketing is “people do not buy a drill, they buy a hole”. I am going to be very brave and say that from a sales perspective that is complete and utter rubbish!

People do not buy a hole and if you take time to understand a prospect’s buying motivation you will quickly discover that people buy a drill for many reasons. Why do they want a hole?

And why do they need a new drill? Why do they want one right now?

The secret to soft selling is discovering the buying motivation and working with it. There is no need to be pushy or dishonest to be successful at sales.

Here is a little scenario to demonstrate the difference

Drill buyer: I am looking for a drill and need some help

Sales man: Certainly sir. We have lots of drills to choose from. This one is a beauty and its only £700. It’s got everything you ever wanted from a drill…………. (Shows top of the range whilst rubbing hands together and thinking about the commission)

Drill buyer: Whoa!! that is far too expensive!

Salesman: Well we do have some cheaper drills (trying to rescue the situation)

Drill buyer: OK I will just have a look around and come back if I need help (heads for the nearest exit)

Drill buyer: I am looking for a drill

Soft seller: That’s great. Silly question….can I ask what you need the drill for? (wanting to discover the buying motivation)

Drill buyer: My wife wants me to put up some shelves

Soft seller: Do you do a lot of DIY? (wanting to know why he needs a new drill right now)

Drill buyer: No I am useless at it. Times are tight and I just can’t afford to get in someone to do it for me

Soft seller: Can I ask how much you are expecting to spend? (wanting to know constraints)

Drill buyer: I am not sure of prices but I was thinking of up to around £300

Soft seller: Well you can get plenty of good drills for that. If you are not going to be using it that often then you might want to get a more basic drill and spend the extra on a shelving pack. They make it really easy to get it right. I have friends who are rubbish at DIY and they swear by these shelving packs. They make it all really easy and come with everything you need including the timber. You will just need to get the drill and a size 8 masonary drill bit.

Drill buyer: That sounds brilliant……..

Can you see the difference in the two approaches? The bottom line is that you should be selling people what they want.The buyer did not want a hole. He wanted a set of shelves and a happy wife.

It’s the same idea whether you are selling websites, training, or complex IT services. When you start with understanding the buying motivation then selling becomes so much easier. Indeed, you are simply helping the person to buy.