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The surprising need for Needs

Whether we are in professional or financial services we would be wise to be clear on something simple, but crucial to our overall business success. We are not really selling a product or service. We are selling the solution to our client’s needs.

How our products or services are wonderfully and uniquely delivered can unfortunately be rather irrelevant to the client when they make the decision to buy. The main driver will be the emotion linked to their needs.

This can be challenging for those of us who think we have progressed our marketing by moving our mind-set to explaining more of our unique selling points (USP).

Ideally we will benefit more by asking ourselves have we listened long enough to understand our clients current and longer term needs and can we promise to resolve them? And then, can we consistently keep the promises we make?

If we think about the times we have been a consumer then do we really care about how something is done?

If we have a dripping boiler we don’t particularly care how it is fixed, we just want someone to turn up when they say the will. Stay until it’s resolved and not charge an unreasonable amount.

We don’t care how our court case is won, we just want it won with the end result of it been resolved as quickly, ethically and simply as possible.

So how do we start to identify what a client values and needs?

I first came across the idea of needs and values a long time ago on Neuro Linguistic Programming training. More recently I was reminded by Tony Robbin’s simplified list of six “Human needs”. We require them all. However, we prioritise them differently and give distinct meaning to how we meet these needs. Therefore we will all require differing amounts.

  1. Certainty – we all need a level of certainty in our lives. Reassurance that a bear or pack of wolves is not going to jump out on us while travelling home from our workplace. Or that the electronic device you are using to read this is not going to burst into flames at any moment. We seem to have irrational fears from the more “primitive” part of our brain, therefore the need for certainty in a situation is essential.
  2. Variety – the opposite of certainty is variety. If we were certain exactly what would happen every day in our work and what people would say, then however comforting that maybe, we would all get bored pretty quickly. So we need to encounter variety in different forms.
  3. Uniqueness – we all want to feel significant and unique. There are numerous ways of doing this. Some people like to be more caring to others, while others using bullying as a tactic.
  4. Connection – even though we want to feel unique and special, on the flip side is that as humans we desire to feel a connection to other people and want to “fit in with the crowd”.
  5. Growth – We are either growing or grinding to a halt. I would love to tell you that things can stay the same, but in my experience they do not. It may seem that things are plodding along happily, but ultimately they are getting better or worse. Sooner or later the compounding effect of our actions will emerge. Therefore a fundamental need is to believe that we are growing in our career, whatever way we internally measure that.
  6. Contribution – if we are not giving then what are we really doing on this planet? If the work we do is not actually contributing value to our clients then what is the point? We can’t keep taking in the expectation that other people’s generosity or naivety will be unending, can we? Isn’t one of the best feelings in the world when a team member or a client sits you down, looks you in the eye and tells you that through the value you have contributed to them, their life and career has significantly changed for the better?

So if these are the six human needs that we all require, then which is the most important to your clients?

When was the last time you sat down with your leadership team and established their hierarchy of needs and how they are met? If someone feels their needs are not met then they will do something else to get it and you could find yourself all of a sudden losing your superstars.

I have heard it said that progress leads to happiness. If we feel stagnant then all sorts of issues arise. However, when we feel we are moving forward and making progress whatever the level of impact, then it helps give meaning and purpose to our working lives.

If you are feeling a little stagnant at the moment, then find someone skilled that will listen to you, hear what is not being said and help you become accountable.

Matthew Broomhead

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