Maslow-Hierarchy1Maslow pretty much summed up the hierarchy of needs. We have some pretty fundamental needs like eating and breathing. Only when these are satisfied we start to address the need for a shelter and warmth. Then comes the need to find some company and, maybe, that special person. And so the needs build one upon the other, until we get to self-realisation and self-fulfillment. The ultimate need is to write a blog (only kidding).

How we fulfill and realise these needs can vary quite a lot. And a lot of factors (including marketing) affect how these needs turn into wants. For example, we all need to eat, but some may want a McDonalds whilst others Burger King.(Actually, as a veggie I don’t want either, I’m just trying to illustrate a point.)

In sales it’s really important to understand the difference between a need and a want. It can be difficult to sell to a need as the client has so many potential options. It’s often easier to sell to a want as the client will request a specific product. But if we don’t have, or represent that specific product, what can we do? Well, we have to dig a little to understand the need. We still might not be able to satisfy the need, but it does increase the chances of potential business.

A great question to ask is “What are you trying to achieve?” As this probes the problem and not the suggested solution. It looks under the expressed want, to the implied need. With a good understanding of the need we have the potential to offer an alternative solution. Client’s always know what they are trying to achieve, so focus on that. Rather than getting hung up on their “wants” that you don’t supply.

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