Focus Your Pitch on the Hole, Not the Drill


Here’s a sales pitch fable.


There once was an associate in a hardware store named Johnny. The store had begun carrying what the associate considered the best power drill on the planet. It was the SuperDrill 5000. This drill was a super-duper hand-held model that came with dozens of drill bits. The SuperDrill 5000 was so light anyone could use it with ease. It was extremely powerful. It was fully portable and held a charge for twice as long as the other drills. And above all, it was absolutely beautiful. Johnny had been selling drills for years and yet he still got a slight thrill every time he looked at the SuperDrill 5000. 


One day, Janet walked into the store and went to the drills. 


“Interested in a drill?” said Johnny.


“Yes,” she said, “I need to drill a few holes for a doghouse I’m building for my dog Baloo.”


“Have you thought about the SuperDrill 5000?” As Johnny said the words, he felt a thrill of excitement. He thought, “How could anyone not fall in love with the SuperDrill 5000”


When Johnny described all the features of the drill, Janet could hear Johnny’s passion; she could see it in his eyes.


Then she pointed to another drill, the K-250—a lesser drill in every respect. “But this drill costs a third as much,” she said.


Johnny scoffed at the K-250, reminding her of all the features of the SuperDrill 5000. “This drill comes complete with twenty-four drill bits. And it’s so light.”


“But I only need to drill four holes to make my dog house,” she responded. In the end, Janet bought the lesser drill.


What the moral of this fable? 


People buy holes, not drills.


Put another way, people buy solutions, not products or services. Always. So you should never pitch anything else.


Don’t pitch your law firm. Pitch a solution to the law suit. Don’t pitch your architecture firm, pitch a solution to the owner’s building design needs. Don’t pitch a piece of software. Pitch a solution to a business problem. 


Pitch solutions. Always.

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