Sell Them What They Want, Give Them What They Need

By Lee Collins •  Updated: 08/28/16 •  3 min read
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There’s an old saying that you should find a need, fill it, and you’ll get rich.

It’s not really true. You need to find a want and fill it.

People often do not want what they need. They need to eat right, but they don’t. They need to stop smoking, but they don’t. They want to be more healthy, but they make unhealthy choices.

You want to stand out from the crowd.

You want to sell them what they want, but give them what they need.

Your prospects and customers are people just like you and me and they’re going to respond to messages similar to ones we might respond to. They’ll get turned off by the same things and exaggerations that we do.

Filling their needs and wants typically involves things that we’ve talked about – convenience, long-lasting, time-saving, better-looking, more functional stronger guarantees, better service, etc.

We never know which hot button is their buying button.

We need to test one feature or benefit against another until we discover what their hot buttons are. Your objective is simply one of matching your marketing mission to the functions of the products or services that your business offers.

If your business offers products and services that by design are problem solvers, then you need to use this function in your marketing approach. You want to accentuate the types of problems they may have because your product or service will solve them. Point out a problem in detail and tell just how your product or service is designed to solve that problem.

Here’s a couple of examples:

A diet program. You don’t want to sell the powder or the vitamin, but you want to sell better confidence, better health, greater attraction, and long life.
Toothpaste. You don’t want to sell the fluoride, but you want to sell the whiter teeth, brighter smile, and less trips to the dentist.
How do you uncover their real wants and desires?

If you listen, you’ll discover the customer talking back to you in many ways.

They might speak directly with you, your employees, the media, other customers.

You have to pay attention.

You’ll hear more of what they don’t want instead of what they do want. They might say prices are too high or there’s not a big enough selection or the quality isn’t high enough. That’s telling you the opposite of what they really want.

However and whatever they say – listen to them!

You’ll learn something every time you do. Back to our quote from earlier, the truth is this:

“You can make a living selling people what they need,
But you can get RICH selling people what they want”

(excerpt from Lee’s “Book of Many Things”)

Lee Collins

Air Force veteran and former corporate VP, Lee Collins started marketing online in 1999. He is best known as an early pioneer of Direct Response Marketing on the Internet, but also gained recognition as the creator of Hybrid Marketing and Repeat Profit Systems. When Lee isn't helping his clients solve million-dollar marketing and systems problems, he enjoys time with his wife contemplating by a campfire, exploring a mountain or desert trail in his Jeep Gladiator, or planning their next epic BBQ roadtrip.