“People don't want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.”
So said Theodore Levitt, an American economist, marketing expert, Harvard professor and editor of the Harvard Business Review. His advice on selling the “quarter-inch hole” is a poignant reminder for businesses to focus their sales and branding message on the needs and desired outcomes of the customer.
Levitt’s advice is explored in depth by growth expert Darrell Amy in his new, bestselling book, Revenue Growth Engine: How To Align Sales & Marketing To Accelerate Growth. Amy joined Freedom Media Network founder Curt Mercadante for a wide-ranging interview, which you can view here.
“Levitt was the father of modern marketing, and he'd walk into class and this,” said Amy, holding up an eighth-inch drill bit. “Now, when I'm not working, helping companies grow revenue or working with nonprofits, I'm working in my shop, so I like to build things. So I have electric drills, I have all kinds of these drill bits. But what Theodore Levitt was saying was, ‘Nobody ever went to Lowe's or Home Depot to buy a drill bit. What they went to buy was the hole.’
“Now just so happens I need a drill bit to make the hole. But regardless, I didn't buy the product, I bought the outcome and that's where we need to start thinking about, what do we actually sell? What are the outcomes that you sell?”
In “Revenue Growth Engine", Amy shares a strategy to accelerate growth. Whether you own a company, lead a sales team, or work in marketing, you share the same goal: revenue growth. In today’s economy, companies need to accelerate revenue growth.
He brings 26 years of technology industry sales and marketing experience. Having coached hundreds of solutions reps in how to uncover business problems, Amy helps major account reps talk intelligently about business and financial issues. He also helps reps develop professional writing and presentation skills.
Amy told Mercadante that every company has a revenue growth engine that is the “sum of their sales and marketing efforts.” Lamenting that too many business owners rely on sales “technology” alone, he said the fuel that drives your engine is that focused message which speaks to the desired outcomes of your clients.
“So to use the analogy of an engine, the engine needs fuel,” he said. “But over the years, we'd get phone calls from companies going, ‘Darrell, I bought a platform, I bought HubSpot, I signed up and we paid for it for a year, it's time for renewal. It's not working.’”
"Okay, well, what do you mean it's not working?" Amy would ask.
"Well, we're not getting leads,” his clients would reply.
"Well, what have you done?" he’d ask.
"Well, I bought HubSpot,” they’d say.
Amy said that any sales technology, not just HubSpot, would apply to this example. He said this is akin to buying a new car, never putting fuel in it, and when it runs out of gas, wondering, “why doesn’t this car work?”
“The fuel for growth, especially when it comes to sales and marketing and your revenue growth is, I believe, a focused message,” he said. “And that message needs to be focused on the outcomes that your clients and prospects want for their business.”
Amy also is co-host, along with Larry Levine, of the “Selling from the Heart Podcast” and co-authored (also with Levine) the bestselling book, “Selling from the Heart.”