Persuasion Shortcuts: Leveraging the “Jobs to be Done” Methodology

Apr 19, 2021

Whenever you want to persuade customers to buy your products, you should make sure that you’re covering three types of jobs that are likely important to them at varying degrees: functional, emotional, and social jobs. These are the three persuasion shortcuts that can multiply your persuasion efforts.

Jobs to be Done


In many cases, only focusing on the functional jobs element won’t be enough to motivate customers to change their prearranged course and follow your proposals. That’s because they may have emotional and social needs tied to the situation and they’re not quite sure whether buying your product would further those needs, have no effect at all, or even work against those needs in some ways.


In most persuasion attempts, all three jobs must be addressed for maximum effectiveness.


For each of these jobs, frame your offering as being able to perform significantly better and faster than other competing offerings. Elaborate on those differentiations as much as possible. To motivate someone to change their predetermined course, they must perceive your offering as being significantly better or faster. Otherwise, why would they exert the extra time and energy required to change their actions for a relatively small return?


In other words, for each of these jobs, frame your offering as the fastest and most effective route towards getting those jobs done—the path of least resistance.


Functional Jobs

Functional Jobs – the core tasks that customers want to get done

When appealing to this job, you’re providing a logical argument as to why your offering can perform the functional job faster and more effective than competing offerings.


Examples of Functional Jobs:

  • Achieving a goal
  • Solving a problem
  • Improving a process


Emotional Jobs

Emotional Jobs – how customers want to feel or avoid feeling as a result of executing the core functional job


Sometimes, an emotional job is just as important to a customer as a functional job. In unique cases, it might be more important than either a functional or social job. This is particularly the case when a customer depends more on emotions than logic when he or she makes decisions.


Compliments, appreciation, encouragement, inspiration, and talking about common interests are some of the most common ways to appeal to customers’ emotions.


Examples of Emotional Jobs:

  • Gaining self-confidence
  • Self-Love
  • Enhanced feeling of self-worth
  • A connection to and a greater understanding of one’s “ideal-self”
  • Appreciation
  • Eliminating doubts
  • A feeling of nostalgia for when things were better/Great memories
  • Hope for a better tomorrow
  • Feeling of success and winning
  • Feeling and believing oneself to be a good person
  • Perception of an optimistic world/positive surroundings
  • Validating core beliefs and world-view
  • Courage to expand personal horizons
  • Peace of mind


Social Jobs

Social Jobs – how customers want to be perceived by others


In some cases, a social job is more important to a customer than a functional or emotional job. This true when a customer seeks recognition, is highly self-conscious, pursues fame, wants a bigger and higher quality social circle, etc.


Examples of Social Jobs:

  • Improve Social Status
  • Improve social perception
  • Gain new friends
  • Gain a bigger and higher quality social circle
  • Gain positive fame and recognition
  • Receive recognition
  • Introductions to people who can help with related or unrelated issues



  • Christensen, C.M., Dillon, K., Hall, T. and Duncan, D.S. (2016) Competing against luck: The story of innovation and customer choice. Available at: (Accessed: 12 January 2017).
  • Christensen, C.M. and Raynor, M.E. (2013) The innovator’s solution: Creating and sustaining successful growth. Available at: (Accessed: 12 January 2017).


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