I have read Tony Robbins on and off over the last few years. I first picked up his personal power cassette tapes at a secondhand book festival four years ago. Fortunately at the time I was driving an Magna that still had the original car radio complete with a cassette tape player. I quickly learnt that cassette tapes are so awkward when it comes to trying to find certain points to relisten to… but I digress. These Anthony Robbins tapes for me was a gamer changer as it sparked an interest within me about personal development and human behaviour . Considering most of Tony Robbins talks are hours long I was interested to see what Tony considered was the core message from his talks to include in a heavily condensed 22 minute Ted talk.
This Ted talk was basically an extract of Tony’s core teaching, a teaser for his programs. The key take away for me was his very brief discussion of what Tony calls the 6 basic human needs. Tony’s version of human needs is similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and is a fascinating way of looking at the needs of not only yourself but of everybody that you come into contact with. So what does Tony call the basic human needs?
- Certainty (survival, reassurance, safety)
- Uncertainty (variety, excitement)
- Significance (feeling of importance, unique, special)
- Connection and love (a closeness with loved ones)
- Growth (expansion of our lives)
- Contribution (supporting and helping others)
We learn to become more understanding of others and the choices they make, when we look at others through this context of everyone trying to either consciously or subconsciously fulfil their basic human needs. When we apply the 6 human needs to our business, and execute them in a genuine and sincere manner, we gain an advantage over our competitors. Let’s have a look at how some of the basic human needs could be applied to our online businesses. Bear in mind that although not every human need will apply to every single business and customer, it’s still a good idea to at least consider if one or two of these needs are being met.
Understanding your customer’s 6 human needs
- Certainty: Does your website make potential customers and clients feel reassured? Is your online store’s checkout secure and does it protect your customer’s privacy? Does your customer clearly know what will happen once they purchase your product or service?
- Uncertainty: Is there any part of your business that breaks away from the norm, thats unique? Perhaps it’s the way you handle customer service, or the fact that you throw in some non-advertised bonuses into your delivery. Businesses and service providers that under-promise and over-deliver generally always get my repeat business. Do they get yours too?
- Significance: Do you make your customers feel special and important? Do you use your customer’s name or does all your emails sound generic, dear customer, dear visitor? Many websites are run on auto-responders, which is great for productivity, but can be a negative for human interaction. Try and make sure that your auto-responders have that human touch and don’t sound so dry or overhyped.
- Connection and love: In the context of business, the human need for connection is closely tied with the need for significance. The need for connection could also be met with a simple follow-up call to see how a customer is going with your product or service post transaction. In Dale Carnegie’s book ‘How to win friends and influence people’ Dale stresses the importance of using a person’s name. In service businesses, mastering the human need of connection could be as simple as referring to someone using their name. Social media can also play a big role in forming meaningful connections with customers and clients. Try and respond to each and every social media and blog post comment. This may not be possible if you have a large readership. In this case, responding to a few comments and adding a little note that says although simply don’t have enough time to respond to each comment you do read each and every one. Even the simple act of liking someone’s post sends out the message that ‘I hear you and I care.’
- Growth: The way I perceive growth in business is by asking the question; will a product or service I provide make my customer feel as if their life has had a positive change. Information products and courses have a great capacity to inspire positive change. Even a simple blog post has the ability to provide positive growth. Is there a way you can provide growth to a customer in your business?
- Contribution: One of my favourite businesses at the moment is Thank-You Water. Here’s a company that has based their business model on helping those in need. Each of their products have unique tracking codes printed on their labels and by purchasing that product you are helping Thank-You Water fund a specific project to provide clean drinking water to developing countries. You can track what impact your purchase has contributed to specific projects by entering your unique tracking code into their website. How cool is that! Is their a way that you can use your business as a way to help your customers serve others?
Not every business will be able to meet all 6 human needs for a customer. The truth is most won’t. Every business should at least aim to fulfil the need for certainty for customers. Provide your customer with reassurance that dealing with you and your business will be a smooth transaction and that there wont be any nasty surprises for them after they have completed their transaction. If you can fulfil one or two more of those needs as well, you will end up with a happy customer, one who might very well end up being a regular customer.
This particular Ted Talk has really been an eye-opener for me and I intend to reevaluate every stage of my business in the eyes of my customers and their needs. I have created a worksheet to help me pinpoint exactly how my business is meeting these needs. Feel free to download my printable worksheet to help you determine if your customer’s needs are being met.
Six human needs your customers crave (printable pdf)
I would love to hear what you think about my interpretation of Tony Robbin’s human needs in the context of the business world. Do you agree ? Disagree? Is there another customer need which we should be paying attention to? Let me and the other reads know in the comments below.