The Most Important Concept in Sales

It’s Sunday morning and you are getting ready for the big game, when your wife enters the room and says, “what are you doing?” You reply with, “getting ready to watch the game.” With the dirtiest of looks, your wife says, “you are not watching that game until you hang that picture, I have been asking you to hang for weeks now.” “Fine, let me go get my drill and I will hang it,” you say.

You then go out to the garage to find your drill, only to find that it is not charged, the charging cord is missing, and you can not find the drill bits that you need. Now, you are very annoyed and frustrated. In this state of frustration, you proceed to head to the hardware store, hitting every red light on they way. You say to yourself, “I better not miss the game because of this.”

You finally arrive at the hardware store and walk inside. The salesclerk, promptly greets you and ask, “How may I help you today?” In an annoyed tone, you retort, “I need a drill.” The inexperienced salesclerk proceeds to do what even the most professional salesperson would do, “the drills are over here, let me show you.” The two of you walk over to the drill section and the salesclerk begins to tell you all about the drills, “this drill is cordless, so you won’t have to worry about a cord getting in the way… this drill comes with 100 drill bits, so you will never be without the bit that you need.”

Sounds like the salesclerk is doing a pretty good job, doesn’t it? However, in actuality, they are not. Let’s look at what the customer is thinking at this point. In their head they are saying, “I can’t find the charging cord to the drill I have… I lost the drill bits I need… this sucks, all I wanted was a hole.”

Do you still think the salesclerk did a good job now that you see things from the customer’s perspective? It is amazing how things change when you change perspective. Now, let’s look at how this could have gone better.

Salesclerk: “Welcome to ABC hardware, how may I help you?”

You: “I need a drill.”

Salesclerk: “It sounds like you need a hole, what kind of a hole do you need?”

You: “Oh man, my wife has been nagging me to hang this picture for her, for weeks now. Today she told me she was not going to let me relax and watch the game unless I hung her picture up. I went to my garage to get my drill and the battery was dead, I couldn’t find the charging cord, and I did not have any of the right bits. So now I am here and missing the game.”

Salesclerk: “That’s a pretty rough morning. But don’t worry I got you. Take a look at this drill, it comes with this case that will allow you to keep all of your drill bits in one place to ensure you don’t lose them. The case also has the charging cord built in so you will not lose that either. It even shows you the battery status right here so you will know your drill is charged when you need it. All of these things make this the perfect drill for you, don’t you agree?”

You: “Yeah.”

Salesclerk: “In addition to the drill, you are going to need a mounting and leveling kit to ensure that you hang the picture right the first time. Do you have one?”

You: “Actually I don’t and I didn’t even think of that.”

Salesclerk: “That’s what I am here for. With this drill and the mounting and leveling kit you should have that picture up and be back to watching the game before half time. Sound good.”

You: “Sounds great, thank you.”

So, in what scenario did the salesclerk actually do the better job? The second one obviously. This is because the salesclerk in the second scenario presented the customer with a solution and not just a product.

That’s what the customer is really buying, a SOLUTION!

It is not what the product is, a drill. It is not just what it does, makes a hole. It is the desired solution, the results of drilling the hole, or in the case of our example scenario, it is the results of being able to hang the picture quickly, efficiently and easily so that the customer can get back to doing the one thing that they want to do, watch the game.

As a salesperson, if your goal is to sell at your asking price, build a relationship with the customer that earns repeat & referral business, you MUST stop selling features and benefits and start offering SOLUTIONS!



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