Most people who have been involved with sales and marketing for any length of time have heard the saying, ‘Sell them what they want. Then sell them what they need’.
But what exactly does it mean? It sounds a little odd, doesn’t it?
Does it mean that people are frivolous and go around making irrational purchases that don’t meet their needs, before more serious ones that sustain them?
Should you try to sell trivial goods first, and then follow up with those that are more substantial?
No, that’s not it.
What it is trying to say is that people buy for emotional reasons. Does anybody buy a Mercedes Benz just because they NEED to get from point A to point B?
Do they buy it because they NEED all of the amazing gizmos, the heated leather seats & hand polished wood trim?
No, a person buys an expensive car that they don’t need because it makes them feel important.
The truth is that luxury purchases are motivated by vanity, envy, pride, jealousy, and narcissism, even greed. And, there is nothing sinister, or wrong with it. That’s just the way we are as human beings. It’s what makes us tick.
In fact, these emotions are behind all kinds of everyday purchases too, and understanding how they motivate buying behavior presents a big opportunity for you to increase enquiries and sales. Here’s how…
Look at this letter written for the Wall Street Journal. It’s said to be one of the most successful advertisements in the history of the world, responsible for over $1 billion in sales.
Look carefully, & see how skillfully it evokes one or more of these powerful emotions. Try to get a sense of how you feel when you read it.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ‘TWO YOUNG MEN’ LETTER:
On a beautiful late spring afternoon, twenty-five years ago, two young men graduated from the same college. They were very much alike, these two young men. Both had been better than average students, both were personable, and both – as young college graduates are – were filled with ambitious dreams for the future.
Recently, these men returned to their college for their 25th reunion. They were still very much alike. Both were happily married. Both had three children. And both, it turned out, had gone to work for the same Midwestern manufacturing company after graduation, and were still there.
But there was a difference. One of the men was manager of a small department of that company. The other was its president.
Have you ever wondered, as I have, what makes this kind of difference in people’s lives? It isn’t always a native intelligence or talent or dedication. It isn’t that one person wants success and the other doesn’t.
The difference lies in what each person knows and how he or she makes use of that knowledge.
And that is why I am writing to you and to people like you about The Wall Street Journal. For that is the whole purpose of The Journal: To give its readers knowledge – knowledge that they can use in business.
The letter closes:
About those two college classmates I mention at the beginning of this letter: They were graduated from college together and together got started in the business world. So what made their lives in business different?
Knowledge. Useful knowledge. And its application.
I cannot promise you that success will be instantly yours if you start reading The Wall Street Journal. But I can guarantee that you will find The Journal always interesting, always reliable, and always useful.
Pretty powerful stuff!
In actual fact, esteem (to feel valued) is NOT a WANT at all. It is a basic human NEED almost as fundamental as food & water. Your prospects hunger & thirst for it. Their emotions are the expressions of that craving.
If you can trigger these emotions, & then associate satisfaction of the ‘esteem needs’ with your product, you’ve got a winning sales message that will be guaranteed high readership, and much higher response rates!
So ask yourself: is there a way that you can link you product or service with making your prospect feel highly valued?
Perhaps is starts with telling a story, just like the Wall Street Journal ad.