#142: StoryBrand Framework: Mistaking Needs for Wants – The Most Common Messaging Misstep


Hey there, and welcome back to the Entrepreneur Mindset Podcast. I am so thrilled you’re here with me today because we are going to talk about something that is near and dear to my heart. It is wants versus needs. Now, if you have kids, you have probably talked a lot with them about wants versus needs. No, you do not need the 80th matchbox car.

You want it, but you do not need the 80th matchbox car. So we’re going to pass by it in the Target aisle. But today we’re not talking about our kiddos’ wants and needs. But that concept does help us to understand our clients a little bit better. So today we are going to talk about the concept of wants versus needs in your messaging. And as you do this, we’re going to talk about some of the potential pitfalls and how to overcome them so that you can create messaging that resonates, that gets your potential client’s attention each and every time.

Wants vs. Needs in Messaging

Go to Google, maybe not right now, but maybe when this, when this is done, I want you to go to Google and I want you to think about what your client or potential client they haven’t found you yet is putting into that Google search bar.

What are they putting in? Chances are they’re putting in, I want to build confidence. I want to lose weight. I want to fix my 3D printer clog. I want to lower my anxiety. I want to sleep better at night. I want to learn a new language. I want to really think about this. We need to develop our messaging around what our client wants. This is what they’re searching Google for. This is what they’re looking on YouTube for. This is what they are going to Reddit for. This is what they’re looking for groups on Facebook for. We have to dial in this. We have to dial in what it is they actually want.

And some of you right now are going to say, yeah, but what they’re typing in isn’t actually what they need. This goes back to my example. When we opened up today’s episode, I said, your child, my child wants the 80th matchbox car, hot Wheels car, whatever it is, but they don’t need it. What they need is to be a little bit more creative with maybe the 79 that they already have.

Okay? Our tendency as an entrepreneur is to absolutely say, “they’re putting in, they need to lose weight”, but that’s not what they need. They’re putting in, “how to sleep better”, but that’s not what they need. They don’t need to know how to sleep better. They need to do all of these other things in their life, and the sleep will follow. What’s happening here is you’re trying to get to their root cause, right? Imagine someone comes to you, maybe you’re a doctor, okay? Let’s go with this. Imagine someone comes to the doctor’s office and they’ve got a raging migraine, really bad headache, they’re light sensitive, they’re nauseous. All of the things that go along with migraines. And you know, at that moment, they don’t care what the root cause is. They care about the pain they’re in, and they need an immediate fix to that. They need the relief first, and then you can dig into the root cause, right? They want relief, and then they need an understanding of what triggers their migraines.

We tend to kind of mix this up a little bit, because as entrepreneurs, we are experts in our business area, right? We have an expert mindset. In fact, a lot of people say, oh, you’re an “expert business”, and I love that. But we also have to keep in mind that even though we’re an expert business, we can’t just wear an expert mantle. We also have to take that off and understand where our clients are coming from, where they’re at right now. And as an expert, we probably haven’t been there in a while. So we have to take off the expert mantle and lay it aside just for the moment to understand what it is our clients actually want.

And so when you are working on your messaging and your marketing, one of the very first things that I always recommend and we find in the StoryBrand framework is to focus on what it is our client wants. We want to get that very, very clear. And this is where I see, you know, like I see a lot of, I see a lot of really brilliant entrepreneurs say, okay, so this is what they want. And they put down the need. Be careful, okay? I want you to think about the Google example. What would you put into Google? I want to, and even preface it with the words. I want to think about the doctor example I just gave you. If we miss the want, if we don’t take care of the migraine relief first, then we can’t ever deal with the underlying triggers of that migraine because our client is in pain. 

We have to solve the “want” first, at least on the surface level, so that we can get down to the needs of that client, all right? What they need cannot trump what the client wants. So in looking at your StoryBrand framework, in thinking about what your client wants,

I want you to get basic. I want you to get down to the roots, basic. I don’t want you to make it complicated. If they’re typing in, I want to lose weight to Google, I want you to put that as what they want. Okay? Even if you know that’s not the heart and the soul of it, if that’s not the true root of the problem, that’s okay right now, I just want you to focus on what it is they want. And if you are finding that difficult, go ahead and write somewhere else what they need. Because then maybe it kind of gets it out of your system a little bit. You know it’s somewhere and you can write down what it is the person wants. This requires you to adopt a mindset that makes sure that your client and subsequently your messaging are putting the client in the driver’s seat.

One of my favorite things to think about when I was teaching coaching all the time is that your client is in charge of their journey. We get to sit alongside them, maybe in the passenger seat or even in the back seat. We can link arms with them and walk alongside them on their path. But we can’t push, pull, trip or shove.

My students know, I used to say that a lot. You cannot push, pull, trip, or shove your client into the change that they need to make. So we have to meet them where they’re at. It doesn’t mean you cannot provide education, it doesn’t mean you cannot provide all of the different things that they’ll need to be able to take the next step in their journey. However, today, right now, you need to step alongside them, meet them where they’re at, no judgment, because we cannot push, pull, trip, or shove them into change. It’s a powerful thing to think about. 

And when you can think about it that way, when you can remember, I cannot push, pull, trip, or shove my client into change, it becomes easier to recognize what it is they want. You can do this on levels. When you look at the https://myStoryBrand.com website that I introduced to you a few weeks ago, and the podcast, it’ll show just one space for what they want. And you can type that up. But what you could do is think about it on the surface level.

What are they asking for? And then a little bit deeper, what are they asking for? It’s almost that seven layers of why concept where you say, okay, why do you want to lose weight? Well, because I want to fit in my swimsuit. Why do you want to fit in the swimsuit? Because I want to feel confident on the beach. Why do you want to feel confident on the beach? Because I want to not worry about what I look like, and I want to just enjoy playing with my kids. I want to be able to run up and down on the sand and get up and down from building a sandcastle and know that I’m going to be able to do that comfortably. And I just want to not worry about anything but just playing with my kids when I’m at the beach.

We started with that want of losing weight. Then we talked about maybe it’s a swimsuit fit. Then we talked about maybe it is confidence. Then we talked about, well, at the end of the day, really I just want to play with my kids. I know I can do it and feel good about it. So just because we’re talking about the wants doesn’t mean it can’t be deep.

You can do that seven layers of why. I know I didn’t just do seven, I didn’t actually count. I probably could, but I didn’t do seven. Go seven layers deep. And think about the why. Keep asking yourself “why”. Toddlers ask, “why” all the time. Be a toddler with your client’s wants and explore that further.

Explore what they’re talking about. See what the extra words are that they’re discussing and sharing and speaking out loud. Because when you adopt that mindset of putting your client in the driver’s seat where they are the hero of your messaging, they start to recognize you as someone who is not going to badger or bully. They recognize you as someone who is their partner, who has their best interests at heart, who is going to support them through their journey, through the missteps, through the challenges, through the trials and tribulations. And you are still going to be there. And what you are offering will help them make a change for the better. 

This is why we have to focus on wants. If we focus on needs right away, we are the expert. We are in the driver’s seat. We are pushing, pulling, tripping, or shoving our client into a change that we say they need to make. And they’re not there yet. They don’t, they’re not at that “need” part yet. They’re focused on what they want, what they see as what they want. And through the conversations, through your course, through your membership, through your coaching program, and through that self-discovery raising of the self-awareness with your clients, and you can do this with your messaging as well, you can start to get down to that nitty gritty root of what’s actually happening so that you can focus more on their needs. 

Make sense? We’re starting where they’re at right in the moment with what they want.

We’re starting with what they’re putting into Google. So do those Google searches, see what pops up? See how many things, what, what questions have millions and millions of responses or millions and millions of entries in Google or YouTube. See what you go to YouTube and search your topic and see what kinds of comments people are leaving on the videos that are videos that maybe you would be posting.

Go look at the comments, the comments sections are so rich to find out what people are saying, what words they’re using. When you learn these words that your clients are using, your messaging becomes more powerful. Use the words your clients are using. 

I know some people say you should never ask your clients what they need. And I’ll be honest with you, I don’t believe in that. I know many, many marketers who think that you should know your stuff well enough that you should not go out and ask them what they need or what they want. I take a contrary view to that. Here’s why. I think when you ask them what they want, you gain insights into where they are right now, emotionally, physically, mentally, heart and soul. And so you can really create messaging and an offer that’s going to resonate with them and be and meet them where they are. And if we guess, then we are not going to be able to do that as easily, as quickly, or as successfully. 

This past week, I actually sent an email out to my list and I said, dear friends, I would love to know where you’re struggling right now. I want to know how to help you. And there’s always the person that says, yeah, but if Henry Ford had asked people what they wanted, they would’ve set a faster horse. And what you know, he created a car. He would never have created the car. If he had asked them what they wanted and they set a faster horse, he would’ve tried to figure out how to breed a faster horse. 

Just because you ask your clients what it is they want and you get their words and you start to understand better how they’re feeling, what’s going on, it doesn’t mean that you are only doing exactly what they’ve asked for or what they’ve said. It means that you understand where they’re at right now, and you can better create the next email, the next podcast episode, the next offer to walk them on their journey so it’s a more seamless opportunity and process for them. 

Make sense? So we are talking this week, all about wants and needs. We want to honor our clients, our potential clients, where they are right now. And a lot of times that means taking off our expert mantle, laying it down for a moment, and just simply being with our clients. Whether it’s through a survey, through a conversation on Zoom, a coffee chat in your local coffee bar, whatever that looks like for you. Just start to learn what your clients want. That is the first step of really solid messaging that’s going to land and speak to your potential clients.

Action Item

So that’s where we’re at for today. Let’s talk about action items. I think for today’s action item, what I’d like you to do is actually go to Google or YouTube, preferably both, and type in “I want to…”, and then try out a series of different things. And as you do this, keep track of the different things you’re searching for because it’s really easy to get in a groove and then you go “that one was good, but I don’t remember what it was because it was three times ago”. 

Keep a document, whether it’s written or it’s digital, I want you to keep a document of the different things you’re, you’re searching for and to see what kinds of results you get. Check out, especially on YouTube, what kind of comments are in the videos that pop up as people are responding to the message that’s out there in that video?

Check it out, read through them. Write down the things that really resonate with you, with your business, with your mission and your values and your offer so that you can better connect with those same clients in the future as you start to put out your own material, your own content, and your own messaging. So this week, that’s what I want you to do.

Spend some time on Google, on YouTube, on Reddit, looking for different things. You can even try Pinterest if that’s something that is interesting to you. If you’re in some Facebook groups, you can go check those out. But really start with Google, YouTube, and Reddit. Huge search engines for the whole world. And you are going to gain a lot of insights as to what’s being searched, what’s not being searched, because you’re sometimes going to get some really weird stuff that pops up. It’s not your wheelhouse at all. And you’re going to say, oh, those are not the right words to use because this is what it pulls up. People aren’t searching for that. Okay, there you have your action item for the week.


Today was all about starting your messaging by meeting your clients where they are at.

We want to focus on their wants versus their needs. And I gave you the example of the person who has a raging migraine, goes to the doctor’s office. That patient does not care about the root cause, the trigger of the migraine right now, they need some relief, so they want some pain relief. If the doctor tries to go into the root causes, the triggers of the migraine at that exact moment, it’s not going to ha, it’s not going to land. The person is not going to hear it. They need some relief for the pain first. So we absolutely must meet our clients where they are at, where they’re at in the moment with our messaging, with our marketing, with our emails, our podcasts, everything that we put out, we’ve got to meet them where they’re at. And a lot of times that means putting down the expert mantle so that we can relate and really listen with intention to what they’re sharing with us. 

I hope that this has been helpful. I trust that some of these ideas are resonating with you. And remember that last week we talked about having a really good mindset about going through this messaging process.

It’s going to take time. It is going to be something that you need to build a little bubble around your confidence so that when something doesn’t quite land, right, it does not chip away at your confidence. We want that to stay intact as you test things because this is a scientific experiment, essentially. We have to make some really good guesses with our hypotheses and our theories, test them out and make adjustments to that hypothesis until we get something that is working really well. 

All right, this is the first step. Next week we will talk more about your messaging and specifically about the problems that your clients are experiencing and how we can think about them and talk about them so that your client recognizes that you get them, that you know what they’re going through, whether you’ve been in their shoes or not. Sometimes we’ve not been in our client’s shoes. We haven’t lived what it has, what it is we’re teaching on or coaching on, or creating a membership around. You can still show them that you understand when you really take into account the problems that they’re experiencing and put it to words, something that they’ve been going, “oh, that’s it right there. I just couldn’t put it into words”. 

You get to be that master who puts what they’re experiencing into words they feel seen, heard, and understood. But that’s for next week. This week, your action item is to head over to Google, YouTube, Reddit, maybe even Pinterest, and check out what it is your clients are searching by putting into that search bar.

I want you to fill in what your business is about and see what pops up. Keep track of those iterations of searches that you do. Keep track of comments that you’re finding on YouTube videos. What resonates, what do you think works really well? If you have a client, a comment that you see that says, I’m having a lot of confidence challenges, I’m doing this and nothing’s happening. Note those things down. These are all things you can address in your messaging for your business. 

There you have it! 

I will see you back here next week for another episode of the Entrepreneur Mindset Podcast, where we always focus on mentoring on community and implementation so that we can remove that overwhelm of building a successful and profitable business and add in a little dose of momentum along the way.

Until next time, have a healthy, safe and happy week.

Show Resources:

StoryBrand Messaging Framework: https://mystorybrand.com/

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