Tuesday 2¢: Pain to Aspiration

This week’s brief thought, should we be setting fire to people’s ties?

When I was coming up through sales training as a youthful B2B tech pre-sales consultant, we were very much focused on pain, finding, identifying, and even creating pain. If there was no pain, there would be no gain (for the selling vendor).

Strange as it might sound, but this was quite an evolved approach compared to what went before, selling based on a pissing contest of features, and functions and chucking a bit of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) in the general direction of the competition.

OK, saying “what happened before” is not quite true, as that approach still walks among us. There is still a belief that if you build features, they will come, but if there is no emotional pull toward discovering what each doohickey does, why would a buyer put in the time?

But pain is such a negative emotion from the school of being interviewed for a sales job, being asked to sell them a glass of water and setting fire to their tie.

I like to think about needs.

OK, so yes, a person with their tie on fire has a very immediate need. However, before someone set his tie on fire in an ill-judged response to an interview question, they probably had a more positive need for water, and while they will purchase a glass of water to quench the flames, I’m not sure it will form an enduring customer to seller relationship.

I’ve gone a bit far with the fire thing, but when I talk about need it is not in the sense that someone needs the product to be “easy to use”, integrated to SAP or has some hot-shit AI thingy.

Yes, later in the sales cycle, it’ll be essential for them to put in the time and explore all of that functionality stuff, but right now, how does your product make them feel and motivate them to go deeper and discover more?

What do they need beyond buying your product?

And, maybe if they are truly emotionally sold on having you and their product in their life, they’ll overlook some of their functional needs and trust you that it’s definitely planned for the next major release. But, more importantly, be your champion or sponsor.

When we choose our next laptop, is there a spreadsheet of features, specs, speeds and sizes that guides our purchase? Or do we choose based on what this laptop choice says about us?

And yes, that might be rooted in the specs; it’s faster, bigger or better, or maybe you want to appear sensible or frugal or have an emotional attachment to a brand, but these needs are not so much about features and functions but underlining, enforcing or validating our aspirations.

In our B2B marketing; whatever you are flogging, we will have a stronger connection with our buyers if we are not just satisfying needs but tugging on the emotional strings of aspiration.

Why does the buyer need a solution to their problem? What are they aspiring to do? And what is holding them back? How can you help with that?

This is just a quick 2¢, so I am skimming through this, but B2B marketing needs to move from pain to aspiration.

Aside from my ongoing argument with Grammarly the only robots used in the production of this post is the image, which was created using A.I. through NightCafe Creator

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