Maslow Marketing Hierarchy
The theory developed by Maslow put forth that the motivation for any action made by any human being is an unfulfilled need. When we have unmet needs, we are motivated to meet them in a specific order. Once the needs on the first level are met, we move on to the needs of the next level, and so on until we reach the top tier.
The first level that we are concerned with is our physiological needs: the basic things that keep us alive. Safety needs are met next, followed by social needs. We then move into the less tangible needs of esteem and, finally, self-actualization. Any student of the Maslow theory will understand how it can easily fit into a marketing context. When we attempt to make a sale, we are not only selling the product: we are selling the idea of the product, the image of the product, and the result of the product. We are essentially promising to fulfill one or more of the needs in the hierarchy.
Obviously, a marketing campaign will be more successful the more it appeals to the lower levels of unfulfilled need in a person’s life. What this means for you, the marketer, is that knowing your audience’s needs is key. A product that promises to fulfill an esteem need will be virtually useless to a customer whose safety needs are not yet met.
In order to be successful in any marketing endeavor, the first step is to get a firm grasp on the psychographic motivators to which you will be appealing. Which need on the hierarchy is your product going to fulfill? How will it fulfill this need, and how can you prove to your potential customers that it will effectively fulfill their need?
Maybe a more important question is how you can tell which level of need your potential customer is currently attempting to address. If a customer comes to you asking for your product, then they are doing a large portion of your work for you. However, it’s exceedingly difficult to understand the needs of a complete stranger when you are attempting a cold sale.
The best way to overcome this obstacle is simple, and it’s one that every marketer is taught from the very beginning of their career: just talk. Talk about sports, the weather, or family life – anything other than the product you are trying to sell. Chatting with your potential customer in a friendly, non-pressured way will allow you to pick up on invaluable clues about their needs.
Once you understand why your potential customer may be motivated to buy, you are one step closer to being able to fulfill their unmet need. By identifying their motivating factors, you can cater your sales techniques to each individual customer. By analyzing the needs of customers at large, you can now effectively market to your target audience as a whole.
Maslow’s theory remains the basis for most management practices today. However, it can be equally successful when applied to marketing practices. The key, as always, is to know how to help your customer decide that your product will change their life.
Maslow’s Marketing Filter
One of the basics of all marketing and advertising training is a teaching of “Maslow’s needs pyramid”.
Use Maslow’s needs pyramid so that you can get inside the consumer’s mind and develop an understanding of what’s truly motivating them as they consider purchasing your product or service.
Maslow’s needs pyramid present human needs such that each need is pursued and met before the next level of needs can be considered; they build upon one another. The needs from most basic to most complex are:
– physiological needs: food, shelter, sex
– safety needs: clothing, weapons, defense of self
– social needs: social acceptance
– esteem needs: acceptance of self by self
– fulfillment needs: a feeling of having and fulfilling a purpose
So the question is, “How do we use this paradigm to get inside the consumer’s head?”
Let’s consider a personal fitness training service. Here’s how it works at the most basic level. Place yourself in the position of the consumer and think as if you are considering hiring a personal fitness trainer.
1. How will personal fitness training impact my acquisition and use of food? Of shelter? Of sexual behavior? (Now you see why sex is used in marketing so many products – we react to it instinctually)
2. How will personal fitness training impact my personal safety?
– you’ll be in better shape and can run faster from a mugger, perhaps.
3. How will personal fitness training positively impact my standing in society? In my social circle? Access to different social circles?
4. How will personal fitness training positively impact how I think about myself?
5. Will personal fitness training have an impact on my personal sense of fulfillment?
I understand that most consumers will ask themselves these types of questions without really thinking about them. The answers you develop as you purposely ask yourselves these types of questions will give you insight in the processes a consumer may consider or be susceptible to as they are considering purchasing personal fitness training services.
This process will also help you define ways to market that will get consumers to consider your personal fitness training service if they are not. Using Maslow’s needs pyramid helps you target your marketing. It is the foundation of:
-Motivating to Action
Using this type of filtering process can also help you create need in those that have not yet developed an interest in your product or service. Simply put yourself in the consumer’s place and present you’re marketing to them in such a way as to answer or resolve each need in the hierarchy.
Closing The Sale “7 Steps”
I – You Have Got to Ask Questions
One of the keys to closing the sale is opening the dialog. The best way to get a conversation going is to start with really good sales questions.
Five phenomenal sales questions to help you get the business:
1. What are your responsibilities? This is a terrific sales question to get a measure of your prospect’s ego, self-esteem, and self worth. Most salespeople skip this question. What and how a decision Maker thinks about his position can help you cinch the deal later on in the selling process.
2. What are the biggest challenges you face in growing your business? most salespeople try to uncover problems instead of focusing on challenges. Logically, people you barely know may be reluctant to share their problems with you. Most people are willing to open up and discuss their challenges.
3. What qualities are you looking for (insert the appropriate product or service). The key to asking this question is listening carefully to the answers. For example, if somebody responded with reliability as a quality, you should immediately follow up and get the definition of the word reliability. How they define reliability will enable you to relate more specifically to that reliability factor.
4. What are your criteria for making a decision? This is a tricky question – but only for the unprepared. You see, many times a sales prospect will respond by saying pricing is the bottom-line. When you ask these sales questions – What are your criteria for making a decision and get a response like – “for us it’s the bottom-line pricing.”Be sure to follow up with this additional question. In addition to pricing, what other criteria do you have for making this decision? They will always give you something else.
5. Describe the decision-making process. You should only ask this question for Big sales opportunities. You need to know who’s going to be involved, what the time frame is, and what the natural progression for this organization’s decision-making process will be. You must know this before you attempt closing the sale.
6. What would it take to win your supplier of the year award? The purpose of this question is to get them to tell you what they value in a supplier or in a supplier’s product/service. Whether or not they have a supplier of the year award you still get their opinion when you ask this question. Once again you should listen carefully to their response.
“You can judge the quality of your questions by the quality of the responses you get”
Not asking intelligent and prepared questions trips up salespeople more than anything else. One of the best ways to attempt closing the sale in less time is to ask rock-solid questions that eliminates all the guesswork and assumptions. Plain and simple!
II – Forget Quotes Do Proposals
Closing the sale is much easier when you present your sales prospecta professional sales proposal.
Consider first things first. Forget about doing quotes and start doing value-packed sales proposals.
It stands to reason that you want your sales proposal to adequately represent you when you’re not there to speak for yourself. Imagine you’re dealing with a committee of five decision makers.
Also imagine they are seated around a conference table for a 1 PM meeting to determine who gets the business – and you’re not there to represent yourself. What’s left is your sales proposal and it has been spectacular.
Let’s also assume there are four suppliers involved. Three of the suppliers have submitted rather boring and bland quotations that almost scream out, “Hey, here’s my price.”
The person who wins the –Pricing game– is the person with the lowest price.
Three tips that puts value into the proposal which will give a distinct advantage when trying closing the sale:
1. Here are some cover page essentials. If there are five decision makers, be sure you have each decision-makers name in large type on the front cover so that everyone gets a personalized copy of your proposal. The biggest thing on this page should be that person’s name. Including a line that says –Especially prepared for– might score a few points as well. Put the date of the decision making meeting on the front cover too – not the date you send it. If you do this it will force you to find out when the decision is going to be made.
2. Include an organization chart – but not an ordinary one. Create a chart that includes the names of six to eight people who are most likely to have some interaction with your potential customer. Traditional organization charts usually include names and titles. Go beyond that and include telephone numbers, fax numbers, e-mail addresses, direct dial extensions and a digital photograph the size of a quarter situated in the box. Including this contact information draws attention to the accessibility of all key people – and that’s exactly what you want. Having pictures simply adds faces to the names. You can score some major points by introducing your support team.
3. Include a Benefits Page. This is very powerful and it’s where you have the opportunity to toot your own horn. On the top of this page you should in very large type XYZ Company’s Benefit Page. List seven facts or features about your company and or products. Facts are simply facts. Under each fact express a benefit. This benefit statement should be indented, bold faced, slightly larger type, and printed in red so it jumps off the page at anyone who is looking at it. Begin each benefit statement with these words . . . Which means. This will increase your sales and multiply your personal income. This page should be positioned as the page before your first page of pricing. What this means is, your potential customer gets to see your benefits before he sees your pricing. That’s a smart move and makes closing the sale easier for you
III– How Much Does It Cost?
Closing the sale means you have to be ready for the unexpected.
But – you know some things in sales are very predictable.
Like how to respond to the — How much does it cost — question.
Rule number one – unless you have asked all of your sales questions and given your presentation, deflect this question until later.
Rule number two – remember it’s QPP – which refers to questions, presentation, pricing. If you don’t stick to this sequence you are headed for heavy discounting and severe erosion of your profitability.
The next time somebody asks you, –How much does it cost– respond with these two words.
And then be totally silent.
Within a very short period of time your prospect/customer will ask,
It depends on what?
You receive a call from a Vice President of Sales. He’s planning a National Sales meeting. He has forty salespeople and he wants to give them professional sales training. Ask and get answers to 12 open-ended questions. Describe your capabilities based solely on his responses to these 12 questions.
He comments, “This sounds good – How much will it cost us?”
Respond with, “It depends.”
He responds, “It depends on what?”
“It depends on whether you want to include pre-meeting reading assignments, it also depends on the length of the training program, and it depends on how you’re planning to reinforce the sales training after your National Sales Meeting.”
“It also depends on your interest level in establishing a Learning Library for your sales team and it also depends on how you feel about specialized training (field coaching) for your sales managers.”
Closing the sale becomes a lot easier when you follow this approach.
Never give anything without getting something in return. In essence, what must be done here is to say the price of the sales training depends on a bundle of other choices. Literally it says the price depends on the size of the bundle you buy. “The bigger your bundle – the better your price” Doesn’t that make a world of sense? Don’t offer one price for one product. The more choices you offer, the higher your probability of achieving success. And besides, most people love choices – it makes the entire decision-making process easier.
IV – Tips On Adding Value
Closing the sale is made easier when you add value that your prospects/customers can appreciate. This is so important. Wham Bam it’s very important. If you can’t quantify the value there is no value. It’s got to be in your mind before you can transfer it to the customer’s mind.
1. If you must discount, discount the value of something you’re willing to give away for free, but only after you have assigned a dollar value to it.
If you sell equipment and include training, technical service/support, training manuals, warrantees, and even some accessories; be sure you list these in your proposal as separate line items with the estimated value for each item. Add up the value for each item and add these words next to the total – No Charge. Note that no one can question the value you place on a service you provide. Closing the sale and getting your price requires that you add substantial value.
Other ways to add value before you attempt closing the sale:
=> Simplify your offer – use high-liters and post it notes to identify key parts of your proposal.
=> Use odd numbers.
=> Offer dollar discounts not % discounts.
=> Consider adding a personal bio in your proposal. This can create some unbelievable connections for you.
Adding value is something most salespeople take for granted.
“Like gee whiz’” the customer has eyes he should be able to see the value of my products and services. Sure they have eyes but they won’t see the value unless you spell it out for them.
Don’t make any assumptions about value. To hit a home run you have to quantify the value so that even a seven year old child can tell you what something is worth.
When you put a price on your value, it allows you to put that value into your price.
You have to put the value into your value – plain and simple. Don’t even think about closing the sale until you put the value into your value.
V – Timing Your Close
When thinking about closing the sale, Timing is everything.
Here is the secret. The best time to ask for the business is – as early as you can.
Let’s use a medical analogy. When is the best time for a doctor to recommend a prescription or a surgical procedure?
In this medical scenario the answer is rather obvious. The best time for the doctor to recommend a prescription, or if needed, a surgical procedure is once he’s asked all of his questions, completed all of his testing, and evaluated all the results. When that’s done he can then offer his medical solutions.
It’s the same way in sales – sort of. Once you’ve asked all your questions, completed your homework, finished your sales presentation, added significant value – it’s time to attempt closing the sale.
In medicine, if you offer medicine and/or surgery before a thorough examination, you may be liable for medical malpractice.
In sales, if you start talking about your product before your prospect has completed talking about his current situation you may be facing selling malpractice. When asking for the business be sure you know how to do it in a comfortable, confident, and conversational way.
When you’re trying to secure the business it’s no time to be stumbling and mumbling!
VI – Un-procrastinating Procrastinators
Closing the sale is extremely difficult when dealing with a procrastinator.
Why do procrastinators procrastinate? Knowing the answer to this question can remove the obstacles when you try closing the sale.
They procrastinate because they don’t know what the next step is. If they don’t know what it is, they can’t take it. It’s that simple!
They don’t procrastinate intentionally. It’s just in their buying DNA.
Here’s a great question to ask to help getting the ball rolling with all the procrastinators you encounter.
The single best question to motivate procrastinators to take action is . . .
What would have to happen for you to place an initial order of three units of our new XYZ product? The key words are “What would have to happen.”
Insert whatever is appropriate for the situation after the phrase “What would have to happen.”
This question works like magic. It literally forces the procrastinator to think what the next steps ought to be. He tells you what the steps are and at the same time he tells himself what the steps are.
It may be the single best way to un-procrastinate procrastinators.
VII – Asking For The Business
Here are five powerful ways to ask for the order. This is not complicated. In fact it’s easy. It takes preparation and practice. Only a little of both is required.
Most people can sense strength and weakness in salespeople. To avoid projecting weakness you must prepare in advance how you will ask for the business.
Walk in with your chin up, a smile on your face, and know exactly how you are going to ask for the business.
Five easy and effective ways to use when closing the sale:
You should never be thinking about how you’re going to do this when you’re sitting in your customer’s office. Your customer will sense weakness and you will get pounded on your price.
Here are 5 alternatives to consider:
1. We seem to be in agreement, what would you like the next step to be?
2. If I could take care of that concern, would you order the product from us today?
3. It seems like you’ve made up your mind to do this. Is that right?
4. I suggest an initial order of three units – what do you think?
5. Do you have any questions, or are you ready to take the next step?
Seal the Deal Sales Techniques
Can you close a sale in just seven seconds? You can do it faster if you use a sales technique to make a great first impression. Seven seconds is the average length of time you have to make a first impression. Whether your initial meeting is face-to-face, over the phone or via the Internet, you do not have time to waste. It pays for you to understand the sales technique of how people make their first judgment and what you can do to control the results.
Learn the Non-verbal Sales Technique: When you meet someone face-to-face, 93% of how you are judged is based on non-verbal data – your appearance and your body language. Only 7% is influenced by the words that you speak. A good sales technique is to remember people do judge a book by its cover. When your initial encounter is over the phone, 70% of how you are perceived is based on your tone of voice and 30% on your words. It’s not what you say – it’s the way you say it.
Choose Your First 12 Words: Although research shows words make up a mere 7% of what people think of you in a one-on-one encounter, don’t leave them to chance. Express some form of thank you when you meet the client. Perhaps, it is “Thank you for taking your time to see me today” or “Thank you for joining me for lunch.” Clients appreciate you when you appreciate them.
Use Their Name Immediately: Another forgotten sales technique is to remember there is no sweeter sound than that of our own name. When you use the client’s name in conversation within your first twelve words and the first seven seconds, you are sending a message that you value that person and are focused on him. Nothing gets other people’s attention as effectively as calling them by name.
Pay Attention to Your Hair: Your clients will. In fact, they will notice your hair and face first. Putting off that much-needed haircut or color job might cost you the deal. Don’t let a bad hair day cost you the connection.
Shiny Shoes Sales Technique: People will look from your face to your feet. If your shoes aren’t well maintained, the client will question whether you pay attention to other details. Shoes should be as polished as your sales technique. They may be the last thing you put on before you walk out the door, but they are often the first thing your client notices.
Walk Fast: A faster walker can be perceived as important and energetic – just the kind of person your clients want to do business with. Pick up the pace and walk with purpose if you want to impress.
A Good Business Handshake: The business handshake is an essential selling technique to make a lasting impression. The first move you make when meeting your prospective client is to put out your hand. There isn’t a businessperson anywhere who can’t tell you that the good business handshake should be a firm one. Yet time and again people offer a limp hand to the client.
Make Stylish Introductions: The proper introduction is a selling technique used by all sales masters. It does matter whose name you say first and what words you use when making introductions in business. Business etiquette is based on rank and hierarchy. Honor the senior or highest ranking person by saying their name first. When the client is present, he is always the most important person. Say the client’s name first and introduce other people to the client. The correct words are “I’d like to introduce…” or “I’d like to introduce to you…” followed by the name of the other person.
Always Have Business Cards: Your business cards and how you handle them contribute to your total image. Have a good supply of them with you at all times since you never know when and where you will encounter a potential client. How unimpressive is it to ask for a person’s card and have them say, “Oh, I’m sorry. I think I just gave my last one away.” You get the feeling that this person has already met everyone he wants to know. Keep your business cards in a card case, protected from wear and tear. You will be able to find them without a lot of fumbling around, and they will always be in pristine condition.
Use Proper Body Language: The best selling technique is a smile. It tells your clients you are glad to be with them. Eye contact says you are paying attention and are interested in what is being said. Leaning in toward the client makes you appear engaged and involved in the conversation. Use as many signals as you can express interest.