What start with why? Part 3

Chuck, suppose customers are impressed with the salesperson, but the product is pretty much a commodity. Do we assume people will buy the product at a higher price based on the reputation of the company?   

The purpose of branding is exactly that. There are AMAZING ingredients for hamburgers in the grocery store. In the parking lot is a hamburger restaurant selling burgers for ten times as much. What about preparation?   My grocery store sells hot, cooked chicken with sides in the Deli, but the chain chicken store from Kentucky is still doing well. People do pay more for reputation and convenience.

An amazing product may convince the consumer that the company has their best interest at heart. If the buyer is convinced, they will buy, sight unseen. For example I once sent a check for a motor home to the seller who lives on swampland in Florida.  It had taken a fair amount of conversation before I sent him a check.

How did I convince myself to send a check in the mail?  I looked up the address
and viewed the RV on Google maps, from space!  The RV was parked alongside
his airplane hanger. I figured it’s hard to fake space photos.  (We love our RV, by the way.)

If you trust the seller, you’ll buy tap water in a bottle, using real money, from your pocket……for tap water. We are suckers for anyone we trust, and we’ll buy anything from sellers we trust have our interest at heart.  If we don’t trust them FIRST, they can’t even sell us a bar of gold.

What you are offering is critical, after “why” you are offering it has been accepted by the customer. If they think you are “Shady” or don’t have good intentions, then a wall has been erected that can’t be breached. They will not even look at what you offer if there is not trust in your intentions first.

If you are in a “bad” part of town where you do not TRUST the people around you, then you might not even look them in the face. The wall of distrust of the altruistic nature of the other party has been established.

Why start with why? No commerce can take place until after the Trust in the others intentions has been established.

In conclusion I offer these Public Service Announcements:

If some lady tries to sell you her ex-husbands Harley-Davidson on Craigslist,
please don’t send her the money first.

If somebody offers a “Rent-To-Own” house for sale,
please don’t send them the money first.

Last week a female truck driver climbs down from her cab in front of my house.
She explains that when she answered a Craigslist ad for my neighbors house
the “seller” asked her to send half the money to a remote another state
where he was selling the house from.  ‘WHY” would somebody list a house
on Craigslist for just one day?  I told her to contact the agent on the sign instead.

These are valuable, true life examples on the importance of “Why.”

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Why start with why? Part 2

This is what marketing and sales and industry and commerce is all about my friends. You need to figure out WHY people want to buy something. If you figure out WHY people want something, they will appreciate that you care about their needs first, and will buy from you. (THEY might feel guilty about buying expensive shoes, so giving shoes to charity is filling their need to feel less guilty)

If you think only about your product and the profit you can make from it, they will dump you in the trash and not think about you or anything you offer again.

Simon Sinek spells this out in his best-selling book “Start with Why.” I might have titled it “Why We Should Start With Why” but I’m no expert on publishing. He says in his book that ‘why’ has to do with a brand’s higher level purpose.  A main point in his lecture is that “People don’t buy WHAT you sell. They buy WHY you sell it.”

Let’s say two computer nerds, Steve J. & Steve W.,  have set up a card table on the sidewalk. They are selling apple cassettes with their names on them for apple$25.

“IBM” is selling the finest empty PC shell on the market also for $25.

It has “2015” stamped on the shell. It is lightweight and soundproof. But they expect you to buy all the components, and they tell you it will need a new operating system each year.

So you buy the cassette because you believe in person selling and why they are selling. The tape drive is not all that useful, but you believe in the goals of Steve & Steve.

Suppose you are bored and looking for something to do. Your son offers you his “Doctor X-ray” comic book. A strange man offers you 50 grams of heroin. The heroin is the better value. Which do you take and why?

If you have a bad feeling about the salesman, you will not consider his offer no matter what they are selling. Moms have been teaching kids this long before Simon Sinek was born. The motive is evaluated first.

If all the motives are considered equal, then the offer is evaluated further. All thoughts in a person’s mind begin with “why.”

“Netflix has always been in the “entertainment-delivery” business. They refocused on their core and took steps to make it happen. Apple has always been in the “polished-and-smooth-alternative-to-the-IBM/RadioShack” route. Companies that focus on their root cause for existing thrive. Most forget their “Why” they are in business” and for this reason alone, businesses fail.

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Are Intentions Important and Why Start With Why?









Are intentions as critical as all that? “Why” is the foundation for all exchanges of any kind. One may offer you a glass of tap water from your house. But suppose a large green being with three eyes offers you a glass of water. Your first question is “Why is this being offered?” Any offer is preceded by a “Why.” You won’t even drink from your own faucet unless you have trust in the source.

But Chuck, what about new and exciting products?

Would you like to drive a Tesla? Tesla   You have to trust that it’s supported. If you don’t trust the seller to support your purchase, then you have a very hard sell.  If I have a battery powered car with unlimited power free charging stations, that’s awesome. But will it always be free?  Recently the policy has changed and new owners will pay for charging.  But before you hand over any money or even buy one for the free charging, you’re going to wonder “Why is this guy doing this?”   Before any exchange happens, you will answer the WHY first, every time.


Another illustration:
When your mother “sells” you on something, and you buy into it. (Assuming you have a good relationship with her.) The price can be high, or the price can be low. It can be useful to you or not. It may just be her opinion. But likely, you’ll buy it. You’ll have a personal “why.”

The neighbor couple stops by with their kids in scout uniforms. The child holds up a pizza.  They are fundraising for the scouts.  You don’t eat pizza but you buy this one. This is marketing. There is a hidden “why” you are buying it.

But if we don’t trust them first, they won’t be able to even give us stuff for free.

Suppose a man steps out of a car as you are walking down the street. He is about your age, the same race; he may even look a bit like your cousin, and he waves and smiles. He says, “Excuse me, but I am interested in that overcoat and hat you are wearing. Would you take these car keys for those items? It’s a newer model Tesla, but I really am in need of a hat and overcoat like you are wearing.”  Do you exchange with him?  Or do you turn down the offer for lack of trust? You are very suspicious.

These examples illustrate that Trust-In-The-Seller rules every exchange. If you trust the seller enough, you will buy anything they offer. Conversely, if you don’t trust the seller, there is nothing they can say that will convince you.

Suppose you have a great, amazing product. Will the reason or the “Why” have any influence at all?

Suppose your co-worker sells you “miles” they are going to run, or your friends sells you on a ride to the hospital with perhaps a “Thank You” in exchange. Would you give your kidney to a stranger at no cost to them? Perhaps we would.

If the “why” is too weak…then I will not buy your motive or what you are offering.
But if the “why” is strong then I’ll buy your motives plus anything you offer.
But “why” is always the first question answered, in every case.


Why start with why? Part 2



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Branding Success Secrets

I always wondered how branding success works and sharing what I’ve learned is enjoyable.

  • Begin with “Why” you are offering what you are offering.
    People always want to know “Why” you are communicating with them so tell them your intentions up front.
  • Tell them “How” you intend to do what you have in mind for your offer.
    The how is controlled by the WHY.
  • Finally….tell them WHAT you have in mind as an offer.

Let’s pick a random topic…..housing.
– I’d like to feel useful and provide a needed product and service.
– It’s very hot or cold or wet today and people may want something to help.
– I’ve built some great shelter…..want some?

What are the advantages of this process?

You want to be useful and make a valuable product. But notice the rest of the formula is flexible.  The first line is your core principal. What follows the core principal can change according to conditions.   You might switch to another product someday.

If you base your brand on your core principals then your brand never changes!  So I’ve just described the secret to good branding.  “Apple Computers” felt the need to change their brand to “Apple” because computers were not their core.  The “Apple Way of Doing Things” was the actual brand.  “Disney” properties are managed in a “Disney way.”  Disney properties are not cartoons.

A Brand….is a frame of mind.




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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Claire from County Clare Ireland. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

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Book titles should never include “Step by Step”

People have suggested that “step-by-step” sells better.  Out of the

9,394 results for Kindle Store :“Step by Step”

of Kindle books on Amazon, only five books with “Step By Step” in the title are making more than $100 a month. I suggest you do not use Step-by-Step in your titles.


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Seven ways to create satisfaction for customers and at home

  • Make lasting relationships where you are.
    Quality is one thing, and quantity is another.  We should attempt
    to make lasting relationships that have an impact on others.
    A short conversation can have a lasting effect, but a lasting
    relationship is more likely to change your life. Live in the moment,
    but plan for the long term.
  • Be appreciative.
    There are five languages of appreciation, and each person has a
    favorite way to be appreciated.  First notice the color of each
    person’s eyes (This works).  Then discover what style of
    appreciation is their chosen language.
  • Pursue your dreams.
    Takes steps toward a goal that helps you realize your dreams
    every day.  Success in small things breeds success in big things.
    Take small steps and reward your progress.
  • Practice what you love.
    Be happy doing things that you love and do them often, and
    do them well.   Success breeds success.
  • Share your abundance with others.
    Include others in your quest for happiness and be contagious.
    People will be pleased when you are doing what you love.
  • Avoid materialism.
    Sure we all need to stay warm and dry.  But focus on experiences
    more than multiple homes.  It’s not unusual for people to
    sell their second home when they discover that twice as much
    maintenance doesn’t bring them the happy experiences they
    had in mind.
  • Live the life you want.
    What others expect may not be the final word on how you
    should live.  Be happy in your journey toward happiness and not
    a slave to what others expect of you.



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Effective Business Branding Thoughts

Effective branding is critical to success. There are lots of ideas around out there about branding, what it is, what it means, and what it does. Nailing jello to the wall is easier than nailing down one definition for branding.

Good, effective business branding ends up being an emotional tie to a set of experiences. Emotions explode in a part of the brain that is separate from the area that forms words. Have you ever been sad and unable to put the reason into words? Have you ever been happy and unable to explain it? How about in love? Emotions are in a separate part of the brain from words.

Imagine if all love songs covered the same ground. Lucky for the music industry emotions have difficulty translating into language. We know we over-think things. We refer to the “head” as the problem there. But emotions seem outside of the mind, so we put them in other places, like “you broke my heart” or ” I have a gut instinct about that guy.”

Good, effective branding grows around a group of experiences that have conveyed an emotion. One secondary emotion is passion. That’s why many good businesses thrive based on passion. Passion is not the most base of emotions but is usually is a result of a more primary emotion like love.

Let’s cover “Love” for a moment here. There is “I love my wife”, there is “I love my sister”, ” I love pizza”, “love for strangers” and lust. Those are five of the variations of love. Marketing will use different versions as needed. Sex sells, but the other four do as well.

A good brand will convey that one or more of those is in play in your business. I should tell you that a visible love for money will not go over well with your clients. They already assume that you are just in it for the money. The goal of good branding is to convey your love for something other than the customers cash. There is nothing wrong with having a desire to stay in business and provide for your family and even be providing jobs for people. But that message is not one that people want to hear.

What they want to feel is that your passion for helping others is your number one concern. Make it your #1 concern, and you will go much farther in a business. Define your brand (as best as you can in words) for your benefit. But know that your TRUE Brand is the ACTIONS that result. Your words will ring hollow if you mess this up.

Your ACTIONS are the true definition of your Brand.

There is nothing more off-putting to people than to go to “Friendlies Super-Mart” and be treated poorly by a grumpy employee. If your brand is “Friendly” you best be sure that “friendly” describes the person the public sees. Th”Friendly” is much easier if the CEO is the leader on this. Having a grumpy boss is hard for everyone. Every person in the organization is part of the brand. If someone is having a grumpy day, they either get the support they need or they voluntarily stay home.

The “Brand” of a company is the actions they take, every day, every minute. Ask any customer or client. They will tell you what your brand is and if it doesn’t match your intended brand, you are in trouble.

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