You (Yes, You) Have Customers! And They Are Not Buying What You Think.

The Podcasting Store
3 min readMar 24, 2021

by Drew Holmes

I was working on a communication training the other day (professional, not personal, though I am sure Jamie would appreciate a little crossover of results) and an amazing concept was revealed to me: customers are not actually buying from me the goods and services my store provides.

The way it was explained to me is this: When someone buys a drill bit, they aren’t actually buying the drill bit. Some would say they are buying the hole that it will create, which is a fair point, but it still does not go far enough. Maybe they are buying the utility of putting a picture hanger in that hole so they can hang a picture? Very close! What they actually are buying is the emotional fulfillment (happiness, pride, etc.) of having completed the task of hanging the picture.

Sounds crazy, right?

When you consider that humans are emotional creatures and we make buying decisions emotionally, it actually makes a lot of sense. We seek to fulfill some emotional need and whether it takes a drill bit or a Shamrock Shake to satisfy that need we will find a way.

For example, I enjoy cooking. I am a big fan of Gordon Ramsay and have made my own version of his Beef Wellington for Christmas dinner for several years. When I realized that his Wellington recipe was contained in his Ultimate Cookery Course cookbook, I had to have it. I had an emotional need to get in the mind of one of my culinary idols, to get some insight into what makes him tick as a chef. To do that I needed his recipes. To get those I bought a book.

That is great, you may say, but I teach music. This does not apply to me. I could not disagree more!

Music is one of the ultimate means of expressing human emotion. Anyone who pursues music making, at any age, has a deeper emotional longing and a desire to learn how to convey those emotions when words fail. The mistake we make is assuming that a beginner wants to learn how to play the flute because it is shiny or sounds cool. We must not forget that there is an emotional need that the student is trying to fulfill. The secret to creating a lifelong love of music and music making is to do everything in our power to satiate that need.

As for me, I have set a goal of making every recipe in Gordon’s book, no matter how difficult it seems. Will I succeed? Probably, but in the end it does not really matter. Having the opportunity to learn from one of the best chefs in the world will be enough. And that is why I bought his book and will forever be glad that I did.

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The Podcasting Store

Music retail can be a fascinating business, with lessons learned not just about performing but also about business, mindset, and sales.