Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Sell Them Holes

(0:59) There's an old saying among marketing and sales professionals, "People don’t want drills. They want holes.” It speaks to one of the most common mistakes that promotional and sales material make. You try to sell a product or service without really understanding what it is the customer wants from it. If I don't need holes, a drill, no matter how terrific, is not something I'm going to buy.

(0:49) What does a boater looking to visit your marina really want? Do they want a courtesy car, boater's lounge, or WiFi? Not really.

(0:46) What they really want is a way to re-provision, a place to meet and greet other boaters and socialize, or a chance to update the boater blog and connect with friends and family. You need to think in terms of the benefit an amenity will bring to boaters before you can craft a meaningful message.

(0:37) Long lists of the amenities you offer do little to tell me why I should choose your marina over the competition. What I want to know is the benefit I will receive from the amenity. To do that you need to step into the shoes of boaters.

(0:31) A technique I learned years ago in an MBA class is to create scenarios of the "perfect customer." We would literally write stories describing the customer, setting up the event that led them to our product, defining what it was about the product that attracted them, explaining how they used it and what they felt. The more detail we could provide, the better.

(0:21) Doing it right typically requires more than one scenario. The same amenity might be critical to one boater and irrelevant to another. The same amenity can also have distinctly different benefits to different boaters. It can even have different benefits in different situations for the same boater.

(0:12) At first, the exercise may feel silly but if you get into it, it can be powerful. I have used the technique often in real life when I was struggling with a marketing plan. Relax, make it fun, and turn off judgments.

(0:06) By understanding what boaters are looking for, you can better know how to enhance your marina, present your message, and win more business.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.