Having grown up in Canada, I love maple syrup. I remember Saturday mornings at the sugar farm. Each spring right as the snow was beginning to melt we’d head out into a grove of maple trees.

Each tree had a spigot with a small bucket attached. Sweet sap would drip into the bucket. We’d gather that buckets of sap and bring them the sugar shack.

Straight out of the tree, maple sap tastes like water with a few granules of sugar. When it’s distilled, delicious maple syrup emerges. It takes about 40 gallons of maple sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. It’s no wonder that maple syrup is so valuable—and tastes so good.

The magic happened in the sugar shack. A boiler sat in the middle of the shack. On top of a fire box was a large cauldron of maple sap. The sap would boil down. Several hours later, you’d have thick, delicious maple syrup. I’ll never forget sitting on a log in the middle of the woods eating hot pancakes drenched in fresh maple syrup.

Imagine if you took the same approach to your company’s message. Most company’s messages are watered down. Much like the maple sap the ingredients are there, they just need to be processed into something sweet.

You need to distill your message down to something your prospects and clients are going to love. It all begins by understanding what your prospects and clients really want to buy.

It all begins by understanding what your prospects and clients really want to buy

People Don’t Buy Products, They Buy Outcomes

What you sell and what your clients buy may be two very different things. We think we sell products and services. What our clients really buy is outcomes.

Theodore Levitt, the father of modern marketing put it brilliantly: “People don’t buy drill bits, they buy holes.”

Your prospects don’t want to buy products, they want outcomes. To clarify your message, start with the outcomes you can deliver.

What Outcomes Do Your Prospects Want?

If you sell in the B2B space, here are some high-level outcomes executives desire:

  • Revenue growth?
  • Increased profit?
  • Improved competitive advantage?
  • Reduced risk (or uncertainty)?
  • Improved compliance?

You can take this vertical. If you sell to law firms:

  • More billable hours per attorney
  • Increased competitive advantage in the courtroom
  • Increased competitive advantage in the saturated legal market.
  • Streamlined case preparation

Consider how your products and services help your clients achieve the outcomes they want. Use these outcomes as the themes for your marketing message and sales conversation

Adapted from the draft of my soon-to-be-released book, Revenue Growth Engine, How Great Companies Can Double Revenue In Less Than 3 Years. Stay tuned!

*This article originally appeared on LinkedIn Pulse on May 24, 2019.