Did Sales Training get it all wrong?

I recall, in the dim and distant past, my Sales Trainer grilling myself and the other Sales Neophytes in the Wonders of ‘Needs’ versus ‘Wants’ and how selling on ‘Wants’ was foolish and guaranteed to end in ignominy, whereas selling on “Needs’ was surely the way to go.

I took me many years (you could say it has been a rather slow-burner), but I am starting to wonder if, in this age of, 24/7/365, price-comparison, peer-review, ‘likes’, ‘follows’ etc etc etc, we didn’t get it EXACTLY wrong! (At least when Marketing high-end or luxury brands).

Consider this. If you had to travel from your office in, say, London, to New York on Business, you would NEED a flight, but you might WANT a Business or First-Class seat.

In order to drive to my office from home, I NEED a car, however I WANT an Aston-Martin DB9.

The ‘compare and review’ properties of the internet have commoditised the ‘Needs’, the explosion of Social Media, Insta-influencers etc etc has led to an outburst of aspirational purchase desire or, to give it it’s old-fashioned name ‘Wants’.

As we start the third decade of the twenty-first Century, we have progressed significantly up Maslow’s Hierarchy and, for most of us, ‘Needs’ are either satisfied or at least within easy price-comparison reach.

What we were all seeing as we did our Christmas shopping recently was an obvious, and sometimes frantic, expression of people looking to fulfil a seemingly endless stream of ‘Wants’

Perhaps it is time to re-write the Sales Training manual. We may have gotten it wrong all those years ago.

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