This is a very common problem I see time and time again. I have been guilty of it many times before myself. So many talk about their features, widgets, services, products, specs, pricing or what they do when discussing what they sell.

This is the wrong approach.

In this blog post, I am going to talk about the importance of selling the outcome your product/service/widget provides. Not what it does, but the outcome it produces for your consumer. I don’t care if you are a dentist, web designer, swimming pool contractor or exterminator. It applies to any business, selling anything.

Ice Cream Time

The other night I took my girlfriend’s son to Cold Stone. He’s been dying to go and we, of course, pick a night when it’s cold out. We pull into the parking spot and I notice something.

I pull out my camera and snap a picture of this…



Why Selling the Outcome is So Important

Adam, what does a picture of a window of a martial arts studio have to do with my business?

Ah, did you even notice it was a martial arts studio?

Probably not.

Why not? Because they were not selling karate lessons, they were selling the outcome their service provides.

They are selling you;




It sure sounds a lot better than martial arts lessons now doesn’t it? I think we could all agree those are all three things most of us would want, right?

There is a popular phrase by Theodore Levitt, a Harvard Business School professor;

People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want to buy a quarter-inch hole!

The hole is the end result – the outcome. What does the average consumer really want from your product and/or service? That is the question you must answer. Once you come up with that answer, that is what you need to sell.

New York Times Best Selling author, Jeffrey Gitomer has an excellent breakdown of the drill/hole topic and I highly recommend you checking it out.

Here is a piece of the article;

Well, it applies to every sale that everyone makes – including yours:

  • I need a filling in my tooth. No, you want to be healthy and pain free.
  • I need copies. No, you want to send a proposal in color that reflects your image and wins the sale.
  • I need a new roof. No, you want to have no leaks, and enjoy quality of life.
  • I need a credit card. No, you don’t have cash, or you don’t want to spend your cash.
  • I need tickets to a concert. No, your favorite group of all time is playing and you have never seen them before. It’s on your bucket list!
  • I need to find a restaurant. No, you need to eat.
  • I need new tires. No, how do you use your car now? How many miles are on your present tires? City or highway driving?
  • I need a flight to New York City. No, why are you going? What will you do after you arrive? Where are you staying?

See the difference?

You can read the rest of the article here: Drill or Hole? What Are They Buying — What Are You Selling?

How to Differentiate Yourself

This also goes back to selling benefits, not features. This is an excellent way to differentiate yourself in the marketplace as most businesses are not selling the benefits or the outcome. If you sell features, you’re just like everyone else and blend in with your competition.

You’re looked at as a …. commodity.

You know that is not want you want.

Mark Hunter, of The Sales Hunter has a great, more detailed example;

If you’re selling backyard swimming pools, the features are the specifications of the pool. The salesperson might be inclined to sell the activity of the ease of cleaning, the low energy costs, etc. Sorry, but these are not the outcomes.

The outcomes are the memories that will be created from the good times the family will have, the parties they’ll be able to enjoy, the likelihood their teenagers and their friends will want to spend more time at the house, etc.

Think of the emotional outcome your service provides. That is how to leave your competition in the dust. Get the to feel how much better life will be after using your service.

If you need help with this, Lori over at Famous in Your Field recently posted on this very topic. She has a very simple formula you can use to help with this. You can find the formula here.


So are you selling the outcome your service provides? Or are you selling what you do? Make the change now and see an increase in your sales and profits.

I promise.