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How to Apply Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs to Selling

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How to Apply Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs to Selling

Abraham Maslow is a psychologist best known for his hierarchy theory of needs.

He claimed that:

  1. There are many human needs.
  2. These universal human needs are found in a hierarchy.
  3. To feel motivated to meet the higher-level requirements, the lower-level needs must first be met.

Here is his hierarchy of needs:

  • Basic. Air, food, water, clothes, shelter, sleep, etc.
  • Safety. Personal security, emotional security, financial security, etc.
  • Social belonging. Friendships, romance, family, etc.
  • Self-Esteem. Respect from others.
  • Self-actualization. Reaching one’s full potential.
  • Transcendence. Transcendence is the act of giving oneself to something greater than oneself.

This hierarchy of needs can be illustrated often with a Maslow pyramid.

Imagine someone holding your head underwater.

Your mind would be completely focused on getting oxygen.

Without oxygen, you wouldn’t be capable of thinking about anything else.

This is the core idea behind Maslow’s hierarchy of need:

The mind will be dominated by a lower-level need and it will not focus on the higher-level needs until they are met.

There are exceptions, such as starving artists.

Nevertheless, this theory is generally true.

It can help us understand each other better.

Note: Maslow’s pyramid shows self-actualization at its top. However, it is important to note that Maslow later criticized his original vision, and argued that transcendence was a top of the hierarchy.

How do we use this?

  1. Determine which of the universal human requirements is most important to your potential customer.
  2. When you’re selling your product, be sure to focus on the need.
  3. Imagine a brighter picture of a better future.

You can’t make this up, you have to do customer research.

Find out where potential customers hang out and then go to their locations to observe their conversations.

This could be:

  • You can search relevant subreddits.
  • Joining niche online forums.
  • Follow Twitter conversations
  • You can read comments on YouTube.
  • Amazon: Reading


You should always try to speak to your potential customers one-on-one. So don’t be afraid to reach out and interview people from your target audience.

This will enable you to understand their hopes and fears.

It is important to pay attention to what words, phrases, or metaphors they use in order to express themselves.

This will enable you to communicate with them in their native language and to invoke imagery that is already in their heads.

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