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Another Sales Tip from Vilfredo Pareto

Vilfredo Pareto, that fabulous Italian Sconomist and educator I spoke of in a previous post, also made some astute observations about society beyond the 80/20 rule.

For example, he was one of the first to recognize that people assess and decide with their emotions (heart) and rationalize with their logic.

Which basically explains why we go after things we want (like a million dollar palace or a shiny new car) and ignore the things we need (like a clean home or 6 months’ living expenses in our savings account).

Humans are in a constant state of assessment. We’re constantly looking at what we want, versus what we truly need, and weighing the risks of putting off the need to have the want.

If we think the risk of losing the want outweighs the risk of putting off the need, we put off the need.

However, if we feel that it’s too risky to give up the need, we forego the want instead.

Back in elementary school, my teacher talked about opportunity costs: the idea that every choice comes with a sacrifce – usually time, energy, or money – or a combination of all three.

In order to attain item A, we may have to give up on item B – or at least delay it a while.

Opportunity costs are all around us: when we choose to eat the frosty at Wendy’s instead of ordering a salad. When we choose to buy the high end MP3 player to keep up with the Joneses, instead of buying the generic MP3 player and saving the difference for the college trust fund.

When we opt to call our hostess the day before the party instead of doing proper hostess coaching. When we don’t do the upsell because we think we’re “being pushy.”

There are costs to every choice we make. Pareto just explained the human mechanism that allows us to make the determination.

So when you’re talking with your prospects – whether you’re booking, selling, or sharing the business opportunity with them, you need to uncover the wants AND the needs. Because some needs are greatr than others. They’re non-negotiable. Other needs are mutable, transient and can meet oppsition when the want is stronger.

Then, simply show your prospect how your solution meets the want AND the need for best success. If you can’t do both, always go for whichever is stronger – the want or the need.

It takes practice, but once you get familiar with understanding needs versus wants, you will quickly get a feel for how this works.

Some people call it “finding their pain”, but whatever you call it, understand Pareto’s discovery and put it to work for you.

People decide with their heart (emotions) and reationalize with their brain (logic). You are most persuasive when you can appeal to both.