So, what do you want? I always wish more sellers and marketers would ask this question more sincerely of their buyers. I look around me and I see so many placebos being offered. Worse still, they are being wolfed down with great relish. Caveat Emptor – let the buyer beware! Some so-called marketing gurus actually teach their followers that there is nothing wrong with offering placebos if it makes the patient better. I’m not sure if that is totally in line with the spirit of “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right”.
There is nothing wrong with asking a person “What do you really want?” This is a typical starting question in coaching and gets a person to be clear about what he is genuinely seeking, so that resources are optimized in that direction. Human beings are generally motivated by the two basic drives of fear of loss and desire for gain. The question “What do you really want?” addresses both these drives and helps to get the person to a higher level of existence. What IS wrong is when the solutions to the question “What do you really want?” do not meet a person’s actual needs of loss avoidance and profitable gain, and not just in a material or financial sense, either. What IS wrong is when goods and services offered do not provide any real value besides a false sense of exalted social status rather than a manifestation of greatness of personhood, for example.
Why are such placebos so common and so desirable? There is one basic, underlying reason which you hate to hear – slothfulness. Slothfulness may not be manifested as outright laziness. It is usually disguised as “This piece of equipment will help me to be more productive”, “The grant from the government will offset the cost of expansion, enabling us to become more profitable in the long run”. Goods and services which may not actually be necessary are bought and consumed in the belief that it will help make our lives and our businesses better. Instead of taking care of the roots, the fundamentals, we are constantly on the lookout for quick-fix solutions that will be our collective undoing in the long run.
So, “Tell me what you want, what you really, really, want.” I may not have the panacea to your problems, but I can certainly get you started strengthening your roots and embarking on your journey towards excellence and sustainability. In closing, I would like to share again two podcasts, one from Dr Ivan Misner and the other from Dr Alan Weiss, on “Exceptions don’t make you exceptional” and “Lying to yourself“. They express a similar spirit and emphasize consistent excellence over temporary measures. Isn’t that what you really, really, want?