Need, a Word to Be Banished from Your Content Marketing and Sales Conversations

Just this morning in my news feed, I read a content marketing and sales headline “These are the skills you need to have.” The following thoughts quickly surfaced in my mind:

marketing and sales

  • Really, I need to have these skills of (leadership, sales, management, etc.)?
  • What if I don’t have these skills?
  • Will I be less successful without these skills?

The word “need” is filled with judgment and is probably one of the least emotionally intelligent words people in sales and marketing use on a daily basis. One can’t blame salespeople after all they are trained to “uncover wants and needs” in most sales training programs.

Return to a moment n your childhood and think about your parents or an adult telling you any of the following:

  • You need to go to bed
  • You need to make straight As
  • You need to go to college
  • You need to find a good job
  • You need to visit your relatives
  • You need… (the you need list is endless)

Every time I read about “you need” to do this or have this when it comes to SMB, sales, marketing to leadership, I inwardly cringe.  For the last 10 years, I have attempted to remove this word, “need,” from my own executive coaching engagements, content marketing and sales conversations.  I also encourage my clients to replace this highly emotional word with other phrases such as “Have you considered?”

Emotional intelligence is critical to successful marketing and sales.  Jeb Blount founder of Sales Gravy is releasing on March 20, 2017 a book, Sales EQ: How Ultra High Performers Leverage Sales Specific Emotional Intelligence to Close the Complex Deal, dedicated to emotional intelligence specific to sales and one I recommend purchasing.

Of course changing an existing behavior is not easy. And for time strapped marketing and sales people having to speak a few extra words may prove frustrating. My advice is just remember how you emotionally felt years ago when you were told “you need” to do whatever.  That memory should be enough to prompt you to change your behavior.

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4 Responses to “Need, a Word to Be Banished from Your Content Marketing and Sales Conversations”

  • Leanne – this is a very interesting concept, and one that deserves some extra thought.

    I write for real estate agents, so I’m thinking about how this would relate to a potential buyer giving them their “wants and needs” lists. Maybe this isn’t objectionable when the client is stating the needs…

    But then, it would become objectionable when the agent is telling the seller what they “need” to do to prepare their home for market. Does the use of that word trigger an automatic resistance? Perhaps.

  • I was taught to remove the word “need” when I was talking to prospects.
    If you ask someone what they need, and they answer, a need is something non-negotiable. You need water, you need sleep, you need air.
    But if you ask what they want (you get a better answer) well that’s something negotiable … I want a Ferrari, I want a trip to Europe, I want to lose 20 lbs
    Greg Woodley recently posted..Nov 30, selling despite distractions

  • Marte – Apologies for the delay in approval. We have just relocated and things are still hectic.

    I would suggest reading a new book – Sales EQ by Jeb Blount. It takes emotional intelligence into the sales process. If we believe sales is the transference of feelings, then the question is how to better transfer those feelings to increase sales.

    Realtors among other salespeople fail to understand the feelings within the buying/selling process. I know after working 2 years to sell our home.

    Also, please look at my LinkedIn profile and feel free to connect.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts,

    Leanne Hoagland-Smith

  • Greg – From my perspective the word need implies an emotional judgment more than anything else. In sales, the salesperson should not be in the role of being a judge but rather a collaborator who connects the his or her solution to the prospect’s desired results.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts as well and apologies for the delay in approving your comment.

    Leanne Hoagland-Smith

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