It’s far easier to sell people something they both need and want.
I offer services I think people need. But even if I’m right about that, they may still not want them. And if people don’t want them, they likely won’t buy them. Need is not the same as demand.
Let me offer you three examples:
- Reading. Leaders read. Or at least they think they should. But they rarely read as much as they’d like to. So, I started running Wiser by Choice, a leadership book club where you don’t have to read the books because I read them for you. It’s a huge time saver for people — but people don’t only not read due to lack of time, they don’t read because they simply don’t want to. They don’t enjoy it, and don’t want to admit it. (No problem — come anyway!)
- Adapting. We all know that change is inevitable, and that adaptability is a critical skill for future-ready leaders. It’s why I became certified as an Adaptability Quotient L2 Professional Coach. But if we’re honest, most of us don’t want to change. We’d prefer that things stay the same, including us, so we resist learning how to embrace change more easily.
- Receiving Feedback. Most leaders say they’re open to feedback. But what we really mean is that we’re open to positive feedback — and would prefer not to hear the other kind. It’s one of the reasons people hesitate to hire a coach. Receiving honest, full-spectrum feedback is an intimidating prospect! But as Scott Osman, Jacquelyn Lane and Marshall Goldsmith write in their new book “Becoming Coachable” (one of our titles in Wiser by Choice this week), “Your coach will challenge you to hear things you do not want to hear and do things you do not want to do.” (p.34). They also assert, “If you want others to change, you go first.” (p.85)
We may not want to admit out loud that we don’t want these good-for-us things.
There are lots of things we know we should do that we don’t. But there are also lots of things we know we should do, don’t particularly enjoy, but do anyway. (I so wish I could read your mind right now to know what examples are coming up! Exercise? Visiting the dentist? Eating your greens? Having a conversation you’ve been putting off?) And often, we discover they really aren’t that bad.
What are the things that you need that you don’t want? What might help you cross the line into doing them anyway, and discovering you appreciate them after all?