What is your “why?”

by bkrigbaum@solagroup.com

Have you ever wondered why you get up every morning? Why you do the things you do each day? It’s because we need to provide for ourselves and our families, and take care of our clients while looking for new ones. But are these the real reasons “why?”

Can your potential clients sense the real reason why you are trying to make a portion of their bank accounts become a portion of your bank account? Do they believe in your company’s core beliefs and convictions, and how you truly can help them by using your knowledge and skills?

Many salespeople know about their products and services, however, many also struggle with how their company’s products and services actually work. Furthermore, rarely do they know why their company is selling a product or a service. Do you know your company’s “why?”

Consider the following sales pitches:

Example 1: “We are a professional design/build company and we offer great design and build services that will provide you with a one-stop solution for all your designing and building needs.” Sound familiar?

Example 2: “We are constantly challenging the status quo with everything we do. We create homes that are beautifully designed, simple to use and homeowner friendly. We just happen to build great projects.” A little different, right?

The first example clearly states what the salesperson knows, and describes what the company can do. In contrast, the second example is about the company’s core beliefs. People need to believe in you and your company; they need to trust and believe in you. People buy from people, not sales pitches.

The second example has been used by Apple, the electronics company. Why has Apple done so well in a down economy? In theory, generic MP3 players should have provided a competitive alternative to iPods. However, they failed because the MP3 companies were after money. They did not produce a unique product that had the same cache as Apple’s products. The iPod was designed to look and feel like a fun product to use. That Apple was able to parlay that into downloads and billions of dollars of revenue is a direct result of their core business beliefs broadcast effectively, and believed by consumers.

For those of you that own an Apple product you know that this statement is true. Years ago, the belief was that PCs were for business and Apple Macs were for the arts and education industries. However, Apple is making a surge into the business world because many are frustrated with their PCs crashing and being attacked by viruses. I have contemplated chucking my PC out the window due to all of the glitches I’ve encountered. So not only has Apple conquered the portable music and download game, they are creeping into the business world by offering a well thought-out product that enhances the computing experience.

Apple’s core belief is to make beautiful products that are simple to use. This type of assertion certainly is used in the advertising world for product promotion. It is, however, most successful and memorable in the political and historical realm.

When ideas of world change are expressed as personal beliefs, they can be very powerful. At a dark time in this country’s history, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood up and declared his core beliefs during his impassioned “I have a dream” speech.

But imagine for a moment that Dr. King used different language. If he had said, “I have a plan” rather than “I have a dream,” think of the vastly different meaning people would take from it. People needed and wanted to believe his message, and they did so because of his conviction and eloquence. Imagine if he rolled out a reasonable plan with bullet points highlighting features and benefits.

How does this translate to the design/build world? Start with the real reason why you enjoy doing what you do. Next, develop a simple explanation of how you do what you do, then tell people what you do. By reversing the order from What, How and Why to Why, How and What, you will start to engage people with your core beliefs.

Our reasons for getting up in the morning differ, but if you truly know your “why” you will never work another day in your life.

Reference to knowing your “why” is from Simon Sineck.

Many salespeople know about their products and services, but they don’t know how they work.

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