9 Basic Human Needs and How to Leverage Them in Building Your Business

by Dorina Lanza · 2 comments

in Strategic Marketing

If you know somebody’s needs, then you know how to help them get to where they want to be.

There are a number of categories of human needs. If you know what they are, you know what you need to look for.  If you know what to look for, you can find them.  If you can find them, [and you can articulate how you and your opportunity can fill them] you will be able to relate to people better.  If you can relate to people better, you will increase your recruiting rate.  If you deliver on the promise to fulfill the person’s need, you will increase your retention rate.  If you know how to do this, you can duplicate it through your organization.

Is this important for your business?  I think so!

Human needs can be separated into 9 categories.  In no particular order, people have the need for:

  • Security
  • Acceptance
  • Community
  • Exchange
  • Expression
  • Expansion
  • Power
  • Adventure
  • Freedom

Generally, people have three primary needs and the others are secondary.  Your job is to identify the three primary needs for each person with whom you are dealing.  This will tell you what you have to know to optimize your dealings with them.  You will be able to communicate with them more effectively.  You will find that you will have more natural rapport with people that share your needs. If you do not share needs, you will have to create the rapport.  Interesting . . . [note:  People that do not have their needs met can behave in "less than optimal" ways.  This is a "hint".  Fix it.]

Let’s have a brief look at how these 9 needs can manifest themselves.

1. Security.  They need to feel safe, feel protected.  They need predictability.  This can manifest differently in different people. Security can mean many things:

  • Having a “good job”
  • Owning a house “free and clear”
  • Having a “big bank account”
  • Not having any debt
  • Living in a “secure” community
  • Having a car on which they can depend
  • Carrying sufficient health, life, liability insurance

2. Acceptance. This is the need to be accepted by others – belonging.  These are people that like:

  • Joining clubs
  • Doing things to make others feel good
  • Building relationships with the neighbors, other kids’ parents, etc.
  • They are always “nice”
  • They are very tolerant
  • They are always “helping”
  • They work towards the inclusion of “others”

3. Community.  These are people that like to be around other people. They love get togethers. They  can maintain lots of relationships. Here is what you might see:

  • Somebody who hosts lots of parties
  • Someone at the center of the office activity
  • A person who belongs to many clubs
  • Someone who coordinates some kind of campaign
  • Someone who hosts groups at their home [family, social or business]
  • Someone who will run for office

4. Exchange. These people need to trade information and knowledge with others. They like to communicate.  For instance:

  • They love to debate
  • They love to stay in touch with everyone
  • They love to work with people towards a common goal
  • They want to make sure people are treated “fairly”
  • Working on comittes is good
  • The build and maintain an active network of contacts
  • They love networking
  • They can share deep relationships with people with whom they perceive they can communicate

5. Expression. Expressives need to be seen, heard, felt. They are often artistic.  They have the need to express themselves through words, actions, dress, art and self-creations of all types. They manifest through:

  • Writing
  • Creating art
  • Dance
  • Design
  • Teaching arts to children
  • Speaking on the arts
  • Writing about the arts

6. Expansion. This is the need to create.  Somebody with the need for expansion might:

  • Build a business
  • Expand a business
  • Expand an important collection
  • Protect the environment
  • Create new knowledge
  • Be a visionary
  • Create something nobody else has ever thought of

7. Power. This is all about authority and responsibility. These people may be:

  • The Boss
  • The political leader
  • A speaker
  • Responsible for people, projects, events, situations, projects
  • Authorities on something
  • Somebody people look upon as somebody to follow

8. Adventure. These people love to have an adrenaline rush, new experiences, travel, have drama in their life, to have a sense of anticipation about upcoming events. People who need adventure can be found:

  • Starting a new company
  • Being an entrepreneur
  • Having a job that moves them around
  • Being early adopters
  • Setting some record
  • Planning a new trip

9. Freedom. These people love independence and spontaneity. They need to have choices and to feel in control of making those choices. They need to be able to:

  • Make their own choices
  • Select the business they want
  • Select the lifestyle they want
  • Move around when they want
  • Make their own decisions
  • Be self-sufficient
  • Look how they want
  • Follow the rules that they want
  • Be with whomever they want

So how do you find these needs?  Well, after building rapport with the person, use questioning.  I don’t mean interrogation.  I mean relationship building questioning to see what is important to them.  You can formulate your questions if you know how these needs can manifest themselves.   You can formulate them based on the characteristics of each need.  Start with the general and then get more specific. And listen carefully.

Note that people often only question others in a way that reflects their own needs.  This will keep you from connecting with some two thirds of the population!  Surely you don’t want that!  Go through and identify your own needs but then set them aside.  Find the needs of your people and communicate to them under those terms.

Once you are able to get at what people’s real needs are, you will be able to connect with them more easily.  You will be able to communicate with them in a way they can internalize.  Once they see that their basic needs can be met through what you are offering them you will begin to talk to them about their dreams and what they really want to accomplish.  When you get to that point you will have a business partner for life.

I would love to hear your comments on this article. You can leave them in the comment section below. Also, if you found this article useful, I would would really appreciate it if you would share it with your friends and colleagues on FaceBook and Twitter. The share buttons are up above. Thanks!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Janette Stoll March 21, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Hi Dorina,

Excellent post! Spot on about understanding people’s needs and using it to connect with them. People make decisions based on their needs/desires and it’s not always obvious to them but understanding the underlying emotions that drive people is a great step in finding common ground and overcoming barriers.

Love it.

Janette Stoll

Reply

Nancy Lahtinen May 26, 2011 at 3:55 pm

I love this post. I would like to explore expansion and more new ways of relating to people. Many of us have drawn conclusions about people after just a few minutes. Now I am realizing the importance of knowing myself first and then using a system to get to know the needs of the people I meet.

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