“The value of a dollar is social, as it is created by society.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
When was the last time you made a shopping list that looked like this:
- Something that tastes like cardboard so I know it has lots of healthy fiber
- A gadget that locks out my TV after 60 minutes so I can get things done
- A chair that gives me increasingly hard pokes in the tush until I go to the gym
I’ll grant you that lots of people need the items on your list. In fact, most people need all of them.
The only problem is nobody has a shopping list like that. Why not? Because people buy what they want, not what they need. Often what they need is the exact opposite of what they want.
You likely started your business with an idea. That idea often begins with a declaration like, “You know what the world needs? A healthy Twinkie, that’s what!” We are sure that if people just hear about their need, they will get on board. But that is not how the human mind works.
The reason it doesn’t work this way is because the reptilian part of everyone’s brain has a very short term, very gratification-centric focus. It is not against having its true needs met, mind you. Rather it is entirely unaware of them in its animalistic, infantile intentions.
Right about now you are thinking, “Ho hum, I already knew that.” Likely so. Now would you care to explain to the class why it is you have focused your product development, your marketing, your hiring practices, your training plans, and pretty much every other important thing in your business on needs rather than wants?
Hold that question for a moment. Chances are you have seen how other businesses succumb to this. You see their advertising or their waiting room layout or their industrial design and you wonder how they could so cluelessly miss the obvious. But that’s just it: they aren’t aware of the clues. Once you get a fix on the clues, everything else will rapidly fall into place. So what are they?
- When people are asking where to buy X, they want it.
- When people are asking how much X costs, they want it.
- When people are complaining about the lack of X, they want it.
Here’s how that works at Vera Claritas. Have you noticed that you can’t buy anything on our website? That may sound completely nuts. But that is not why our website exists. People don’t generally come here because they need something, they come because they want something. That something is information they can apply in their business and in their life. What they want is to know where to find that information and how to get it. We never, ever get an email saying, “I couldn’t figure out how to sign up to get updates” because we make sure to clearly and simply give people what they want on our website.
People do contact us though. They contact us to ask how to work with us and we are happy to talk to them about it. When we have such a conversation, there is one thing we never do: we never volunteer how much our services cost. Why not? Because no one wants to give up their money. In many of these conversations it becomes immediately apparent that they need to pay us to give them what they need. But they aren’t thinking about that need, they are thinking about what they want.
So all we talk about it what they want. But then something magical happens. After they are satisfied that they understand what we do and that they want us to do it for them, now for the first time they want to know what it costs. So they ask. Because they are ready to hear it, we are now happy to tell them. Any time before that it just wouldn’t make sense, no matter how much they need it.
“Wants come before needs.” click to tweet
Earlier we asked why you focus on needs when you know better. Frankly, it’s not a question worth answering. It doesn’t matter why you do something that doesn’t work. What matters is that you get focused on what does work, especially the stuff you already know that works. One thing you know for sure is that people are highly motivated, even solely motivated by what they want. So give it to them. You will get to their needs soon enough.
What is your list of things you already know but you’re not doing? Tell us about it by commenting below.