Create a need?

I was often asked the question or heard the expression: create a need.

“This guy is an incredible sales / marketing guy, he knows how to create a need.”

The example that always comes to mind is Apple, especially when Jobs was there: every new product was a product that created a need…

Is it really possible to create a need?

There was something wrong every time I have heard this expression, but I was not able to explain it and to clearly answer the question.


Yesterday I have been watching “The wolf of wall street” this strange / funny film by Martin Scorsese with Leonardo di Caprio. The story of an excellent sales guy who uses his talent to become a shameless trader, abusing of sex and drugs…

The heroes favourite test to find good salespeople is to give them his pen and ask: “Sell me this pen!”

And the first answer the majority of people is having is to describe the functionalities of the pen: metal, beautiful, with blue ink, etc…

Worst than that, after 10 seconds, most of the people are already saying that the pen will not be expensive! (Another proof that salespeople are made not born, but I would like to talk about that another time!)

There is only one guy who is finding a good answer to this test: his friend who is a drug dealer and will be in charge of all the bad tasks.

“May I have an autograph?”

And this question is incredible!


The first thing this question is showing is that the vendor knows his prospect. The two are friends and know each other. Di Caprio is playing a guy with an incredible ego, so he is of course flattered by the request.

And, of course, Di Caprio now needs a pen to write this autograph and satisfy his ego…

And his friend has one to sell him!

Doesn’t matter the functionalities or the price (using pricing vocabulary: with a low price sensitivity).

As a conclusion, and this brings me back to my first interrogation: Do you think it is really possible to create a need?

I think not. What this example shows is that in fact you don’t create the need, you reveal it!

And this is what good sales / marketing people do.

They are asking questions that will help you reveal the need you have!

You do not create a need, you reveal it!

For example, everyone has a camera in his pocket now: this need was not “created” by the iPhone, but revealed the need we all have behind that to take thousands of pictures of the people we love and the moments we would like to remember!

What’s your opinion?

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