Kathy Bylkas On The Demise Of “Needs-Based” Selling

I wrote some of this to my personal clients, but since you’re more in my “small business” zone, I wanted to make sure you saw it … because there have been a lot of rumblings over the past week or two that the economy is about to go under.

My thoughts? That may be true, but nothing is certain.

For some counter arguments, consider:

* In EACH of the past five recessions, we saw annual auto sales growth be negative for at least 8 months running before the recession officially began. Now? We haven’t had even one month of negative automobile sales trends.

* Gas continues to be very cheap, and (perhaps not coincidentally) the number of miles driven has reached a decade high.

* Flights were 85% full in December (which is remarkably high).

My point? You can make a good argument either way. In which case, it’s always smart to be prepared. I’ve written previously about how best to be prepared for financial emergencies, and it boils down to:

1) Keep yourself from falling into a pit of fear
2) Have some ready cash
3) Eliminate all your consumer debt
4) Slow down your monthly spending and adjust your cashflow towards savings
5) Automate some investment and/or savings

If you’ve done these things, then you will really be just fine. Don’t let the headlines pull you into their swamps — the media business model thrives on fear! And as a small business person, it is so critical that you guard yourself against fear.

In general, people tend to listen too much to voices that reinforce their preconceptions.

When it comes to growing our firm, I’ve learned not to care much about “how everyone else does it”. I’m MOST interested in: Does it actually work? And, Is this ethical AND will it save my clients a bunch of heartache and money?

So, when I hear “gurus” or corporate experts parrot the conventional line: “Find a need and fill it”, well… I can’t quite sit still and quietly. I have to speak up.

Which is why I’m writing what I am today, so that YOU have more ammunition, justification and understanding for speaking to what people *want* … not just what you think they need.

Kathy Bylkas On The Demise Of “Needs-Based” Selling
“I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph. And there’s purpose and worth to each and every life.” – Ronald Reagan

In many academic MBA programs, they teach “find a need and fill it.” This is advice that dates back to a time when we actually had unmet needs.

Except for food and underwear, I don’t think I’ve bought anything that I’ve actually “needed” in years.

Today, you just can’t get very far with “needs-based” selling. You are far better focusing on what people want. In fact, I think it’s probably true that if you don’t understand what your market wants, or can’t figure out how to relate your merchandise or service to desire (rather than necessity), you’re headed for trouble.

Hardly anyone ever buys golf lessons to improve their game (a need) if he/she plays alone all the time. Golf lessons are bought by people who want to amaze their friends and be envied by the others they play with (a want).

If Apple had waited around to sell iPhones to those who genuinely needed them, their business would be a small shadow of itself. Putting iPhones in the hands of kids, encouraging purely recreational use, and to some degree making carrying one a status symbol – that’s where the real money is.


However base is this desire, the “want” is to show off a little. Understanding this reality makes a huge difference in how you present a product or service. Find the hidden “want” and promote it shamelessly. You’ll sell a lot more of what you provide, regardless of what that is.

And remember — my team and I are here for you, to help you make sense of it all.

Feel very free to share this article with a Colorado Springs business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance — or simply send them our way? While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, we specialize in tax preparation and planning for Colorado Springs families and business owners. And we always make room for referrals from trusted sources like you.

Warmly (and until next week),

Kathy Bylkas
(719) 548-4924

Your TaxLady

Kathy BylkasKathy Bylkas On The Demise Of “Needs-Based” Selling