April 16, 2021

Reader question from Christopher Gaines re Need vs Want

Long time list member Christopher Gaines responded to this message with the following question (shared with permission):

This is thought provoking.

So I think that the service I provide, people need. Yet, they do not desire it. Instead of turning towards my service, they turn towards object/products that give them the sense of moving towards their goals without actually doing anything (other than exchanging money for the product). An incredible amount of desire was marketed into the different products.

If I don’t want to feel like a "sellout" and just market to the desires people are seemingly easily swayed with, then how can I best market to the deeper desires? How do I even get people to open up that much to share? Am I overthinking this?


The answer is simple, but not easy.

Connect the dots between something people already desire and an outcome that your offering reliably produces.

For example:

If the service I provide is “software development”, I could connect that to a desire in non-technical folks who want to “become financially independent by launching your own SaaS business”.

If the service I provide is “piano lessons”, I could connect that to a desire in non-musical folks who want to “be the life of the party at your next holiday gathering”.

If the service I provide is “personal training”, I could connect that to a desire in sedentary folks who want to “feel ten years younger”.

Here’s the thing...

People want stuff, but they don’t always consciously know why.

Every surface level desire (e.g., “I want a new Porsche”) has a deeper motivation (e.g., “I want to attract potential mates”).

If you’re not sure what the deeper desires are that your service satisfies, get testimonials from your past clients.

Once you have those, orient your positioning around their outcomes (i.e., the transformations they experienced), instead of your inputs (i.e., the activities you undertook to enable their transformations)