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Wants vs. NeedsTurning the tables and switching perspectives is an excellent way to view selling. We are going to visit the theme of viewing life through other people’s eyes, and think about the buying process rather than the selling process.  Just about all sales training courses repeatedly emphasize the importance of the needs of customers, and online sales training skills are no different. If you’re interested in an entrepreneur’s secrets to getting a ‘Yes’ for an answer, we will teach you how to identify your prospect’s needs vs. wants for successful sales for startups.

Satisfying Needs

You have probably heard a lot about relating your benefits to your prospect’s needs.  This is particularly true about sales training for software people, but there is a fundamental problem with that approach.  If you only sell to someone’s needs, they will always buy the lowest cost solution that meets those needs.  Let’s think about something that we all need.  Throughout the day, we all need to tell the time; that really has become a need.  I can completely satisfy that need with a Mickey Mouse watch that costs about ten dollars.  It may not look too good in front of clients, so perhaps I will spend a little bit more.  I could stretch to a radio controlled watch, with good clear face, fairly reliable, and it would still cost me less than $100.  That really would completely satisfy the need.

Satisfying Wants

Suppose I fall in love with a beautiful bright thing that costs three grand.  Now, that would be the envy of my colleagues.  It would show my clients how successful I am and it would make me feel good.  What am I doing right now?  I am rationalizing an emotional decision, and that is exactly what business people do when they make decisions.  Let’s have one of our famous wall charts to remind ourselves something very important.  If I need something, but do not particularly want it, I will buy at the lowest cost.  This is obviously under the condition that it actually satisfies the need.  If I really want something, even if I do not need it, price becomes much less of an issue.

Let’s look at an example:  When the insurance company Swiss Re needed offices in London, any number of buildings could have met that need.  But what did they choose?  Something magnificent designed by a renowned architect. The architect, Sir Norman Foster, earns millions selling building designs that people want.  It all comes back to emotional drivers as opposed to rational drivers.  Selling to a need alone will force you to compete on price, and selling at the low end of any market, is incredibly hard work.

Where Marketing Plays A Part

For this part, you must think like a customer.  Let’s spend a few moments right now on marketing to make sure that we drive home this message about why thinking like a customer is so important.

Most software companies do not like to think of themselves as providing software.  Instead, they think that they provide solutions. Why?  Because it sounds much better.  You will see a lot of websites using, for instance, stock control solutions or warehouse management solutions as their key search term.  The only problem is, humans do not see themselves as buying solutions.  When did you last say to your partner, “I am going to go down to the shops right now, would you want me to buy any solutions while I am there?”  People buy software; not solutions.  The search phrase then should be “stock control software.”  Think like a customer for the most persuasive selling techniques!

Real Life Example

I will give you an example from my own business.  My business is copywriting.  I write for websites, brochures, press releases, videos, and so on.  I eat, sleep, and dream copywriting.  I spend my day copywriting, so what would be an obvious search term to use?  Copywriting?  No.  People who use the search term “copywriting,” are media students wanting to know more about the world of copywriting, people wanting instant tips about copywriting, or researchers wanting data on the industry called copywriting.  People who are looking for services like mine use the term “copywriter”- brochure copywriter, pharmaceutical copywriter, or web copywriter.  There is more distinction in that.  The same applies to graphic design, website development, CAD design, and so forth.  Prospects do not search for CAD design when they are looking for someone to do their design.  Instead, they search for CAD designers.  The point here is to start thinking like a customer.

Start Persuading!

Chances are that we are all going to need to sell something once in our lives, or, deal with wants and needs.  This course on sales and persuasion skills for startups will show you the art of persuasion and how to master it like a pro.

Page Last Updated: February 2020

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