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?
Like a Tesla? You have to trust that it’s supported. If you don’t trust the seller to support your purchase, then he can’t give them away. If I have a battery powered car with unlimited power recharging stations to offer it to you for free is your top concern the battery? Perhaps. But before you hand over any money or even take it for free, you’re going to answer the question in you head “Why is this guy doing this?” Before any exchange happens, you will answer why first, in every case.
When your mother sells you something, you buy it. (This assumes you have a swell 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. If possible, you’ll buy it.
The neighbor couple stops by with their kids in scout uniforms. The child holds up a custom made ashtray for you with your name on it. It’s gray/green, misshapen, and you don’t smoke, but it has your name on it. They are fundraising for the scouts. This is sweet Marketing.
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 friendly and smiles. He says, “Excuse me, but I am interested in that overcoat and hat you are wearing. Would you exchange these car keys for those items? It’s a newer model Tesla, but I am in need of a hat and overcoat like you are wearing.” Do you exchange with him? Or do you tun down the offer for lack of trust?
Why start with why? Your co-worker asks you to sponsor them in an upcoming charity race. They offer you the opportunity to buy “the miles that they run.” Is this a good buy? Hardy a good exchange but yet you hand over your cash.
These examples illustrate that Trust-In-The-Sellers-Motives 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 I’ll buy your motives plus anything you offer.
But “why” is always the first question answered, in every case.
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.”
“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.
Chuck, suppose you are madly in love with the salesperson, but the product is pretty much a commodity. Do you assume people will buy your product at a higher price based on your people dong the selling? This could happen, but it’s not a long-term strategy.
Oh, but it is a long-term strategy! 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? O.K. 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.
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. I sent a check for a motor home to the seller who lives on swampland in Florida. (We love our RV, by the way) It had taken a fair amount of conversation before I sent him a check. 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 them. If we don’t trust them FIRST, they can’t 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. The 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. No commerce can take place until after the Trust in the others intentions 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, don’t send them the money first.
These are valuable, true life examples of the importance of “Why?”
Posted in Branding, Start With WHY by Chuck