How Jobs-to-be-done Theory Helps Builders Do More


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We’ve all been the recipient of a poorly targeted sales pitch or marketing campaign. It usually consists of an enthusiastic but misguided spiel filled with general statements about a product or service’s features and benefits. They sound fine, but they may not compel you to buy. They just don’t drive need. That’s because, like everyone else, the only reason you buy anything is because you hope it will help you get a “job” done in your life (the first tenet of Jobs-To-Be-Done (JTBD) Theory). That job may be to get from Point A to Point B (car, airline, sneakers), or to house yourself and your family (single-family home, condo, tiny house), or to look successful to others (Rolex watch, Gucci handbag, Lamborghini).

When a pitch doesn’t convince you that a product or service will help you get some job done better than you’re currently able to, you will not buy it. In other words, all of our “hiring” (purchasing) decisions are based on what we believe will address our unmet needs in the jobs we’re trying to get done.

Data to the rescue

This is where JTBD data can help you sell better. You see, although your customer may not be an expert in homebuilding or interior design, she is the only expert in the jobs she’s trying to get done. So, before you set your business development reps loose, gather some hard data on your customers’ job-to-be-done and the needs associated with that job.

Related: 3 Ways to Use Process Data to Double Profits

In short, your job is to become an expert in your customer’s job.

First, define the job-to-be-done in detail:

  • What steps does the customer go through to accomplish the job?
  • How do they measure success at each step?
  • What are they trying to achieve?
  • What are they trying to avoid?
  • How do they want to feel?
  • How do they want to be seen by others?

The answers to these questions constitute the customer’s needs.

Next, quantify by means of a Likert Scale (very important/satisfied to not important/satisfied) survey the importance and satisfaction associated with the needs to determine which ones are unmet:

  • How important is each need to the customer?
  • How satisfied are they that they’re able to accomplish each need using their current solution?

Comparing these scores, you can determine how well-served each need is. The most underserved needs (largest difference between importance and satisfaction scores) are your opportunities to add value over your competition.

Finally, compare the list of underserved needs with your solution’s features. Identify your unique features that address the unmet needs identified, and formulate your marketing and sales materials around those. Using the same language your homebuyers use, emphasize the ways in which your solution will help them better accomplish the jobs for which they “hire” a home.

When you begin using data to speak to your target customers in terms of the aspects of your solution that address their unmet needs, your message will resonate with your audience on a much more meaningful level.

Help your customer get their jobs done better, and your sales will benefit.

Daniel Small
Daniel Small
For help in understanding and quantifying homebuyers’ unmet needs so you can nail your designs and smoke your competition, contact Daniel Small at 719-321-1953 or [email protected].


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