Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How To Make A Successful Sale: Do We Create Needs Or Simply Discover Them?

Do we really create needs?
Since the world began and companies have the need to selling their products to consumers, it has been said that sales people create needs in the minds of buyers, and guide them by the hand throughout the buying process.

I'll offer you an example to illustrate this point: I love aviation and airplanes, both large and small. A salesman comes now to my house, or the office (as you like it better) and wants to sell an airplane to me.

The vendor knows I like them airplanes and comes already armed to the teeth with all possible arguments and necessary strategies "to create" in my mind the need to buy an airplane.

Will I buy it? Of course I will not, because right now, even though I like airplanes a lot as I like flying them, I'm not in the situation to buy one. The desire might be there, deep inside, to buy one, but there is not enough motivation and money to do it right now.

If you don’t have the need to buy or simply can’t buy, no matter how much the sales guy puts his best effort into explaining the reasons why you should have his product, you will not buy. It's that simple.

The industry recognized this fact a long time ago.

If you don’t believe what I say, look at the cosmetics industry, for instance. How long has it been since they discovered women buy lipsticks because it makes them feel more beautiful? It’s been a long time. Do you believe that a lipstick that doesn’t appeal to this internal women’s need, would be successful? Doubtfully, and see that their marketing is not based at all on the specific characteristics of the product itself but their consumer’s needs.

Now, what happens, for example, in the case of women who don’t like wearing make-up and promote the “make-up free”, women’s natural beauty. Do you think you could convince them to buy a lipstick? Again, doubtfully, and not because they don’t want to feel beautiful, but because they satisfy their need on a very different way and not just by using lipsticks.

That is why it’s so important to find out the real need, what motivates each of your customers. You might think that this second woman would buy a lipstick because she wants to feel beautiful too, as all women do, but note that, in her specific case, this issue goes a different way

When salespeople say they do create needs in people’s mind, it sounds to me anything but a sales pitch for monday morning sales meetings so that vendors can go out and hit the road with an adrenaline rush.

The needs are deep inside there and it’s our job to discover them.

Remember the famous "Maslow's Pyramid of Needs"? It describes a different number of classifications for the different needs that we people have, from the basic ones to the most profound.

The trick to making a successful sale is learning to discover which of those needs is what motivates a buyer to make the decision to buy a product at an specific time, and, once you discover it, increase the urgency and demonstrate how your product will help your client meet that need.

Note that for each buyer the reason to buy the same product might be different. And that is why it’s so important to establish a dialogue with your prospective buyer to learn about their real needs and connect them with specific features of your product.

The secret lies in the ability to listen carefully and discover the real need.

Only allowing your customer to open and calmly express how they feel about your product, their expectations, concerns and many other related things, you will be able to understand what will motivate them to buy it.

Don’t make the mistake of believing that you can create a necessity on your client’s mind, because you will take a long, hard trip to go nowhere. Instead, focus your efforts in discovering their real needs and connect them with what your product, company or brand offers.

You will be surprised at the results.

When you put it into practice, can you tell me how it goes? If you've done it before, can you share with me how it came out?

Click here to continue to the second part of this post:
How to Make a Successful Sale: Do We Create Needs or Simply Discover Them? - Part II

Related article:
Corporate reputation and sales reps’ responsibility.


  1. Joel, Do we create needs? No. However, we may help a buyer discover a need that they didn't know existed.

    1. Thanks, Rick, for stopping by.

      Shall we say: "We help them wish to satisfy their needs on an undiscovered way by buying what we offer?"

      Thanks again. I do enjoy your post and find them quite insightful.

      Cheers :-D