“Why” in sales and marketing. Simon Sinek gave a TED talk called On “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” in 2009. Sinek’s talk centered on good leadership and motivating people, and mentioned on leaders to “start with why.” His topic reminds me of a very simple, familiar framework that works great for Sales and Marketing which I use every day.
In Sales: How I think about the “Why” at a high level
To successfully begin with “Why” in sales and marketing, you must care about the business prospect’s agenda more than your own. You need to understand:
- Why (specifically) should this person buy this business?
- Why should they buy from this business over the other?
- Why should they buy at a particular time for this business?
This conversation is essential to happen first in asking “Why” in sales and marketing, before you talk about anyone or anything else. Above all, remember that this discovery process is a two-way dialogue. The “Why” is the context, and context is everything for any business mind can go.
In Marketing: To start with “Why,” slow down
For us to understand the “Why” in any sales and marketing conversation, you need to take time first to ask questions and understand the wants, needs, and motivations of the person you are working with. In each conversation, you should be coming from a place of trying to understand and help versus trying to sell.
1) Why should this business want to purchase your product or service?
Ask open-ended questions about desired outcomes and existing problems that are unique to your prospect, and understand the exact problem they are trying to solve.
2) How will your product or service matter to this business?
Ask open-ended questions about the positive impact of reaching an outcome in asking “Why” in sales and marketing. How would that be meaningful? Then ask about other negative outcomes that could happen if nothing changes. In other words, should it be a priority? Why not just stay with the status quo? There are sometimes personal impacts as well as business-level impacts. Explore both so you can gain a full picture of your prospect’s situation.
3) How can your business help them?
Ask open-ended questions about their current state. Be sure you fully understand the environment, why do they need the help in sales and marketing.
In sales and marketing: Connect the dots using the “Why” in the prospect’s context
Once you’ve taken time to understand their situation, and you are sure you can effectively help them, you’ll be able to simply and clearly show how they’ll get what they want by working with you in sales and marketing. This is really part of any sales process, but starting with this framework allows the prospect to reach their own conclusions with you guiding them as opposed to you “selling” them.
- Explain their specific outcome of buying the product or service, comparing their specific current state to the ideal future state
- Illustrate the longer-term outcome of sticking with the status quo and maintaining the same strategy
- Illustrate how implementation will work in practice, as simply and logically as possible
- Reconnect all the dots clearly and succinctly, and revisit the “why” to tie the prospect’s purchasing decision together
This framework is fairly simple. Ask relevant questions early, understand your prospects’ context, and make sure you can effectively help them with their “Why.” Then, as simply as possible, connect the dots to show what you can do to help your prospects reach their goals.