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EP 177: The “Sell ‘Em What They Want” Myth

October 6, 2020 Bobby Klinck

Today I’m pushing back again some conventional wisdom we often hear in the online marketing space. There’s a myth that you should sell people what they want but give them what they need. But the problem is this approach has some serious limitations.

Most marketers realize you can’t sell people something they need if they don’t want it. The common way around this is to create and sell people what they want and sneak in what they need. It’s not horrible advice, but it has some holes.

One of the biggest problems this doesn’t address is what to do if you know that what people want isn’t actually good for them. It feels easier to go with the flow and give people what they want. But becoming a thought leader and educating your audience is more beneficial for them in the long term.

The best way around this sell ‘em what they want issue is to become a better listener and focus on building connections with your audience. But the challenge is that this approach isn’t a quick and easy way to figure out what you should create. The benefit is that you will actually have people who want to buy rather than having to create hype around a launch.

Sometimes you’ve gotta tell your audience that they’re wrong and show them why they should change their opinions. This requires you to take time to listen deeply to what people are saying and commit to being a leader and connecting with your audience. If you do this, selling will become effortless.

What You'll Learn in Today's Episode

  • Examples of situations where we shouldn’t follow the sell ‘em what they want myth.
  • What to do instead if you believe that what they want isn’t actually good for them.
  • How to approach sales when people aren’t going to want what you have but they really do need it.
  • Why it’s important to build connections with your audience before you try to sell to them.
  • How to figure out what your audience actually wants.