This statement was made by Adrian Miller, a consultant, author and sales trainer, during a webinar to the Marketing Executives Networking Group this week.
While there was a little pushback during Q&A and Adrian had no support beyond her personal observations, I completely agree with her conclusion.
Neither of us is dismissing the importance of needs. I think of them as the foundation that often has to be taken care of before moving on.
Regardless, when searching for how to make a sale, smart marketers recognize that companies and people have many more desires than needs. And perhaps surprisingly, we often spend more to satisfy a desire than fulfill a much more critical need.
Two things are obvious:
- My wants often are extensions of my needs which justify spending a lot more than necessary to satisfy my needs; and
- I have many more wants than needs.
I need a new car…I want a new BMW M3. Although I admit that I’ll “settle” for a 535Xi, which isn’t nearly as cool, the desire is far more important than the need, which could be satisfied by a car costing less than 25% as much.
I need a new computer…I want a MacBook Pro. I know that I’ll buy another MacBook Pro, even though a P.C. would provide everything I need for about a third the cost.
- It looks like my wants are driving up my costs by at least 3X.
I need to eat healthy…I want to eat great tasting food. I won’t even try to justify this. And you know which category of food I typically eat.
I have a lot of other wants which have nothing to do with needs, many of which I’m likely to enjoy satisfying.
- The paper version of the Weekend WSJ
- Decent cabernets
- 3-course Italian meals
- Artisan cheeses
- 90-minute restaurant lunches
- I definitely love the experience of eating.
When researching company and individual needs, be sure to spend equal effort finding what they want since:
- There are a lot more wants than needs, and
- People often are willing to spend more to satisfy their desires.