We spend a lot of time building solutions based on what our customers or clients tell us they want. We try hard to give them the product, service, or solution that will generate the business outcome they need. And this is a critically important thing to do. But it’s not the only thing that a customer or client needs from you.

Your customer or your dream client also have personal needs. This is why it is so important to study perceptual lenses. One of the most useful perceptual lenses I have found I picked up from Anthony Robbins.

You know Anthony Robbins from his personal development infomercials. You might believe that he is a motivational speaker, and sometimes that is what he appears to be. But the work he really does is around helping human beings change. One of his companies Robbins-Madanes Training teaches psychologists, psychiatrists, and strategic interventionists to use the frameworks that he has developed to help their clients change faster.

Robbins’ Six Human Needs psychology is a modified version of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy. But Robbins uses it to figure out what drives an individual’s behaviors. He uses it to uncover what vehicles, or choices, they are making to meet those needs making it an extremely effective perceptual lens for our purposes.

  • Certainty: Every human being has the need for certainty. They need to know that they’re going to have what they need to survive. This is the most basic and fundamental need all human beings share. You can think of it as an aversion to risk. In my experience the older one gets, the more they seek certainty.
  • Variety: If we have too much certainty, we get bored so we seek variety. We look for the opportunity to change our mental, physical, and emotional state. The stakeholder with an active mind may seek variety because they need to shake things up. This is what some stakeholders seek change for change’s sake.
  • Love and/or connection: We all have a need for love or connection (a lot of times people mistake connection for love). For our purposes here it’s worth noting that their are stakeholders that need to spend time with you because they desire a human connection. You are the source of connection, and for these stakeholders, relationships matter a lot.
  • Significance: This is the big one. For many of the people that we work with, the largest driver is their need for significance. They want to be acknowledged, and they want to be important. Anything that you do that subtracts from that may be perceived as a threat. Anything that you do to build that up produces a positive perception. I don’t need to write more here for you to know exactly what I mean. You’ve experienced this need plenty of times.
  • Growth: I’m not talking about business growth here, although that may be bundled under this need. I’m talking about personal growth as an individual. Some of us need continued growth, and more than a few of us have this is as one of our primary driving needs. I once had a client who told me they didn’t recognize this needed any of their customers, until she told me about a man who was 45 years old but just embarked on his MBA.
  • Contribution: This need seems to come later, after many of the other needs have been met, but this isn’t always true. Once you’ve done well once all your other needs are satisfied it’s easy to feel the need to contribute, to do something meaningful with your time or your money. Think of the stakeholder you met who wants to leave a lasting legacy. This is the need for contribution.

What do your dream clients really need as individuals? How do you serve this part of their needs, the part that is outside the product, service, or solution that you sell?


Contributor Anthony Lannarino is an entrepreneur, speaker, author, and consultant. He writes daily at and you can subscribe to his newsletter at