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We all know that we need certain vitamins to be healthy.  Aspirin, on the other hand, takes away our pain. 

The famous brother duo of Dan and Chip Heath of Switch:  How to Change Things When Change is Hard fame write a great piece is this month’s Fast Company about felt need.

If a nutshell, if you are selling an idea, a product, or a service, you had better focus on what will take away pain.

The Heath brothers give some great examples in the article:  a book for men explaining pregnancy and the changes their females partners experience= vitamin; What to Expect When You’re Expecting (for women) = Aspirin.

I made up these examples:

A coach selling “values clarification and vision”= vitamin; a coaching selling “be in your dream job by x” = Aspirin

A consultant selling ” team collaboration”= vitamin; a consultant selling “a 50 percent increase in sales”= Aspirin

Sometimes when you get to close to your product or service, you can fall into the trap of promoting vitamins. It might be time to ask some of your best clients* (or the prospects you would love to work closely with) some powerful questions to find out what they need most.  Vitamins are nice but if they have pain and you aren’t taking care of it, someone else surely will. 


*If you work in a company and don’t see yourself as a salesperson, remember that we are all salespeople…we all have to “sell” ideas everyday in our jobs.  The vitamin/ Aspirin comparison applies to you too! Ask your boss, your colleagues and other stakeholders powerful questions to ensure you know their felt needs…then come up with Aspirin to ease their pain.

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