Want vs. Need

Often in sales methodology training you are told to uncover the client’s needs, and sell to those needs.

This is sound advice – but it can also be a trap of sorts.

People and clients need a lot of things, but they don’t always buy based on their needs. If they have funds to spend, they will look at all their needs and make decisions on them, weighing them against what they want – converting needs to wants. And then, and only then, will they make a buying decision.

Let me give you an example. My daughter, Kristen, was 18 years old. She got her first car in Dallas and drove it fast. So fast, she picked up a couple of speeding tickets. Short on cash and motivation, she did not pay them off. In time, she had a warrant out for her arrest. Working part-time at Chick-Fil-A she got a paycheck. Now, she already needed to pay those tickets off. Need: high, very high. But, it was closing in on summer. GAP was having a sale on summer dresses and clothes. Kristen really wanted those new clothes. What to do? Need vs. Want. A Huge Need. A Compelling Want. And what won? WANT!

As marketers and salespeople, our job is to create Want. That can often come out of seeing our prospect’s needs, working with them, fanning them, making a bonfire out of them. But it won’t be a sale unless we make it a Want.

Want comes out of value creation. Not just financial value, not just business value, but personal value! What will this MEAN to that person? With Kristen, it guaranteed that pleasure beat out possible pain. Fundamentally you have to help prospects, not just understand your value – but feel your value! That is when they decide to do something.

If you make the Want strong enough they will get a sense of urgency to do it now. Of all the things they have to do, make your choice the Want. This is a distinction worth looking at.

By Chuck Laughlin, Founder, Corporate Visions Inc.