Finding Your Tribe

Finding Your Tribe

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter


Like many stores in the US, rotisserie chicken draws people in with the promise of a meal that requires very little effort at a low cost. In the big box club stores in the US, they sell awkwardly large chickens that weigh 4+ pounds cooked ( 1.81437kg cooked) for $4.99 (4.77 EUR), less than the price of a whole uncooked chicken.


These stores believe that people don’t simply come to purchase a chicken (or two). They believe that people will come to the store and purchase many other items while there and the store will make money from those purchases as well as the club membership fees that are charged plus create loyalty that brings people back again regularly.

Companies, non-profits, and individuals on the internet try to persuade us in different ways.

For example, there is a beautiful Buddhist temple about two hours outside of New York City.  Not many people live near it, and they wanted to introduce more people to Buddha’s teachings. To do that, they created an introductory course for attendees to learn how to meditate, charging a nominal amount to attend. Very few people did.

They thought and decided to make the weekend course free. More than five times the number of people came. During breaks, they walked around the grounds, stopped in the café for coffee and a snack, spent time in the bookstore, and bought books, jewelry, mala beads, and other knickknacks to bring home with them. The meditation center earned far more from the free attendees than they did from the paid course.

Apple takes a third approach. They want to be the premium brand at the highest price delivering beautifully designed products with a simple interface that even children understand that creates excitement when your phone, computer, or air pods arrive. They are packaged beautifully, work immediately out of the box and deliver a wonderful customer experience. Apple products do exactly what other phones, earbuds and computers do . . . for more money. People like me happily spend more for an iPhone and never consider switching to an Android device.

Dell does something different than Apple. Go to their website and there are 5 buttons at the top for you to choose from that take you to dropdowns that ostensibly try to simplify the process but create more complexity for users. Using laptops, for example, they try to narrow you down to “I am an experienced laptop buyer” or “a newbie (my choice of terms).” From there, they are transparent to the point of excess.

Do you want this model (new consumers don’t know the difference between Dell models)? What sized monitor do you want (multiple choices of monitors)? How large a drive do you want? What price range are you trying to pay? What processor do you want? How much RAM? The questions are endless and eventually, you click many different options, get thoroughly confused, and call customer service to get their help with a decision. I suspect this is what they want with such excessive transparency.

By the way, for those who are trying to purchase a server from Dell, you will only have 26 choices of models and configurations to choose from for more than $4000.

These are just four examples of how companies or organizations try to sell to us.

Many years ago, I sat in a full hotel ballroom in midtown Manhattan as Tony Robbins patrolled the stage. He spoke of a Stanford study of how tv advertisers sell to consumers and cited 5 distinct audiences. The classifications are




Societally Conscious

Needs Driven.


Belongers want to be a part of something. They want to feel like they belong. The model has them in the bar where everyone is having a good time.

Achievers are older, successful, and most importantly, know it. Everything is understated in how they are sold to because they don’t feel the need to impress outside of their class.

Emulators want to be achievers but are too young and don’t make enough money. They are sold to through sex. Every car commercial you watch where the small car is driving fast, is displayed on an angle and has a woman stepping out of it wearing a short skirt that reveal a lot of her leg is targeted toward emulators.

Societally conscious people are the largest demographic group. Ostensibly, they don’t want to be sold to. “Just give me the facts; don’t sell to me,” is their mantra.

Lastly, there are needs-driven people who don’t make a lot of money. There are not many products for them—the lottery, and certain brands of alcoholic beverages are targeted at this group. They want to feel like winners in a world where they believe they are losers.


Seth Godin wrote a blog post in 2013 called, “People Like Us Do Things Like This.” In it, he wrote, “More than features, more than benefits, we are driven to become a member in good standing of the tribe. We want to be respected by those we aspire to connect with, we want to know what we ought to do to be part of that circle.”


Although this may seem to contradict what I wrote, it complements it. We want to be part of OUR tribe whether that is the cheap (smart) chicken buyers or the iPhone user. We want to be a part of the scene (belongers) or one of the other classifications.

When you are hiring, what is the tribe you are selling to job hunters?

When you are job hunting, what are the characteristics of the tribe you want to join?

Do you want to be part of a homogeneous tribe or one that will accept differences?

How do you make yourself desirable to them so they let you join their fraternity or sorority?


Jeff Altman is hired to provide no BS coaching and career advice globally that will make your career easier to navigate so you get the results you want. If you have questions, you can schedule a Trusted Adviser session at If you would like him to coach you, schedule a free discovery call to evaluate him or a paid coaching session with him so you can get to work with him.

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