Are you harnessing the power of Need?

The Power Of Need: Using Need To Persuade

“Nothing has more strength than dire necessity.” ~ Euripides

One of the most basic strategies in sales and marketing is fulfilling a need. You always want to feed a hungry crowd. Every crowd has a different hunger, so how do you know who wants what? And how do you use this strategy to persuade your affluent prospects?

What are you thinking about right now? Maybe the words on the screen, maybe just the sentences as you read them. You’re probably not thinking about bananas. Well. . .now you are, but you weren’t before I brought them up. Right? But if your doctor told you that you needed to eat one banana a day to help with your potassium levels, you might think about bananas more often.

We do not, nor could we, think about bananas twenty-four hours a day. But necessity (i.e. a doctor’s advice for your health) can bring them to the forefront more often than normal.

The part of the brain responsible for consciousness is the Reticular Activating System. It is thought to be the center of motivation and arousal and is involved in most of the central nervous system’s activity (including sleep and wakefulness). The reticular activating system is what helps us pay attention to things that we need to pay attention to and put away those things we can afford to disregard.

Studies have shown that the conscious mind can hold about seven bits of information at any given point in time. (What happens to all the information around us that is available to us at any moment in time, but that we don’t pay attention to? Look for more information on this in an upcoming article: ‘Side Stepping Logic to Get to the Big Boss: The Unconscious’.)

I just got a new car. When I was shopping around and finally decided on what I wanted, a Lexus 350 ES, all of the sudden, everywhere I went, I began seeing Lexus 350 ES’s on the road. I thought, “I had no idea that there were this many Lexus 350 ES’s out there”.

The thing is. . . they were there all along. I just wasn’t paying attention to them and so didn’t realize how many there were. My Reticular Activating System didn’t direct my attention to this particular car because it had nothing to do with what I needed (or wanted) until that point and therefore wasn’t necessary in my conscious mind.

When you’re driving down the freeway, singing along to the radio, you’re probably thinking about what you’re going to do when you get to your destination, you aren’t thinking of using the bathroom, unless you need to. You aren’t thinking of getting some water, unless you’re thirsty. You aren’t thinking of stopping at a gas station for gas, unless you’re running out. You aren’t thinking of stopping for food, unless you’re hungry.

But once you need any of these, they become extremely important and they are part of your conscious thought processes until the need has been satisfied. All of the sudden, it doesn’t matter what’s on the stereo or what the scenery looks like. All that matters are the road signs telling us what’s available to eat, where the next gas station is, etc.

What happened to those thoughts before? Well, they really weren’t in our consciousness. Once these thoughts begin to hold relevancy we can seize control of them and leverage them to our advantage, then put them away when they’re no longer applicable to us.

This speaks a lot to criteria (the values, wants, and needs of a person). By eliciting a person’s criteria we can bring to bear those subtle aspects in a person’s reality that apply to their criteria. When you elicit the criteria of your affluent prospect, you speak to their values at even a higher level and essentially you are fine tuning their Reticular Activating System to your advantage (and to their’s).

What are some examples of how we can use ‘need’ in business? In real estate? In financial planning? Criteria elicitation (finding the very deepest desires of your prospect) is crucial to pointing us in the right direction to satisfy those needs. Once you know the direction to take a person, persuading him/her will come naturally.

Until next time,

Kenrick E. Cleveland

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