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Are You Starting With WHY?

By November 29, 2018 No Comments

I recently finished reading (listening to) Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why. If you’re not familiar with it – or him – Simon has one of the most watched TED Talks, in which he describes “The Golden Circle”. The Golden Circle is three concentric circles: “What” – the outer circle, “How” – the middle circle, and “Why” – the inner circle.

He describes them as follows:

  • WHAT: Every organization on the planet knows WHAT they do. These are the products they sell or the services they offer.
  • HOW: Some organizations know HOW they do it. These are the things that make them special or set them apart from their competition.
  • WHY: Very few organizations know WHY they do what they do. WHY is not about making money – that’s a result. WHY is a purpose, cause, or belief. It’s the very reason your organization exists.

While our HOW is what sets us apart, our customers very often can’t see those differences. Many of the differences are intangible, so it’s not something that can be seen; rather, it’s often felt. How does it feel to do business with you? What does it sound like to do business with you? What does it say to their friends and family that they’ve chosen you? Many of the answers can be traced back to WHY you do what you do – and WHY they ultimately choose to buy from you.

By the time you get the inquiry…

Many steps and buying signals happen before you get an inquiry, be it an email, contact form request, text message, or phone call. Very few of our prospects come directly to us; rather, they make many stops along the way – search engines, referrals, online ads, social media, etc. By the time you get the inquiry, they need WHAT you do. At a high-level they’ve determined that you can fulfill their WHAT – the product or service you provide. They probably can’t tell the difference – at this point – in your WHAT and another company’s WHAT. If you’re a wedding photographer, the things that make you different are more evident to other photographers than they will be to your prospects. They’ve also likely looked at many other options and cut that list down to you, and maybe a few others.

The paradox of choice

Another book I enjoyed is The Paradox of Choice – Why More is Less by Barry Schwartz. I’ve been saying for a long while that you should be giving your customers fewer choices, not more. Giving them more choices makes it harder for them to decide. I’m not advocating that you have fewer products or services to offer – just that you do some filtering – through better questions, and then only show them the choices that will get them the results they desire. Everything you offer can’t be right for every customer, or really for any customer. Using your experience, and the answers to the better questions, cut down their options to one or two. Any more than two and it becomes exponentially harder for them to decide. It’s called decision paralysis.

Three packages

Some of you have heard me speak about having 3 packages, and that’s correct. When you have 3 packages, more people will choose the one in the middle. It’s up to you to help them see that only one (or two) of those packages are really right for their needs. If you’ve ever watched the TV show “House Hunters”, you’ve seen where they make them cut down their 3 possible houses to only 2; before ultimately making them choose which house they’ll buy. They’re using what’s been referred to as the Choice Close: Do you want Option A, or Option B? It’s a great technique, and it makes it easier for your customers than asking if they want one of three, or more, choices.

Decision paralysis

You want to avoid giving them “so much to think about” that they need to “go home and process everything you’ve shown them”. If you hear that a lot, you need to realize that you’re creating that decision paralysis. Give them fewer – but better – choices. Don’t cloud their thinking with options that aren’t right for them. For instance, if you’re a caterer, instead of sending them every menu you offer (breakfast, brunch, lunch, buffet dinner, plated dinner…), find out what they’re looking for – and then only send them that one, or those, menus. Let’s face it, they don’t really need to choose which appetizers they want in order to select you as their caterer. There are very few things a professional caterer can’t produce that would be a deal-breaker for them. And, if there are specific needs (dietary restrictions, ethnic specialties, etc.), they would have likely asked you about them already.

Back to WHY

Do you understand WHY you do what you do? Is it for the money? Is it for the satisfaction of a job well done? Is it for the “Thank You”? I’ve found that – for me – any time I put the money first, it doesn’t work out well. It feels disingenuous because I’m not driven by money. Money is a bad goal, at least for me, because you can never have it all. I find that focusing on abundance is much better. Cavett Robert, the founder of the National Speakers Association, famously said that we’re not trying to get a bigger piece of the pie, we’re trying to make a bigger pie.

My WHY is in the results that people get from my speaking, consulting, and sales training – and what that means to them, their team, and their families. I’m in alignment with my WHY because both my clients, and I,  are focused on the same things. They want to succeed (whatever that means to them – more sales, more profit, etc.) and I want them to succeed; therefore, their success IS my success. The money comes to me because of THEIR success. As Simon Sinek said, “WHY is not about making money, that’s a result.” I’ve passed on many opportunities because they felt too much about the money, and less about the results. Any time someone stresses to me how much money I can be making from an opportunity, as the main reason to do it, I’m turned off. Talk to me about how my clients will be better off, and I’m listening much more intently.

When we’re the customer

It’s the same when we’re the customer. If the salesperson only talks about price, then price becomes the deciding factor. If they talk about results, and talk about WHY, then price becomes less of a factor. We’ve all spent more than we had anticipated on something in our lives, usually because the WHY was a bigger factor in that decision. You need to try to understand your own WHY, your team’s WHY (it’s not always the same motivator as yours), and also your customer’s WHY. What are the most important factors for them when choosing your product or service, and WHY? If they can’t perceive any difference between buying from you, and buying from someone else, then the lower price will likely win. If they want to buy from you – and only from you – then you have pricing power, and you have a brand!

© 2018 AlanBerg.com & Wedding Business Solutions


Your ROI is in your WHY

Need help in finding or expressing your WHY? I’ve helped many businesses, just like yours, find their why. Just listen to them:

Within the first 10 minutes of our session, I was blown away by the level of insight and no-nonsense advice that Alan offered for my business.” -Ashley Morris, Alpaca Your Bags Travel, Warrensburg, MO

“Our entire sales team spent the day with Alan yesterday and it was extremely productive. We left recharged and with some great tips on how to be more efficient and drive better results.  It was well worth the time and expense.” –Melody O’Shea, Beets Hospitality, Livermore, CA

Let’s talk about your WHY. Contact me via emailtext, use the short form on this page, or call 732.422.6362, international enquiries 001 732 422 6362


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