Why do you do what you do?

This little question, when seriously considered, can lead you into discovering some very important truths about your business, your sales style, and your career success.

If your job is to motivate, to persuade or to inspire others to take action, then it is vitally important  you dig deep inside and discover your own motivation….and then share it with others.   People respond positively when you are capable of sharing “from the heart.”  After all, sales has always been an inside game.  For the latest research on this topic, read on….

Start with Why

Bestselling author, lecturer and leadership coach Simon Sinek has been speaking on the topic of “Start with Why” for a number of years.   If you haven’t read his book or heard his lectures, you can watch his TED speech on YouTube by  clicking on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qp0HIF3SfI4.  

In his research into what makes companies great, Mr. Sinek analyzed companies such as Apple, Tivo, and Google.  He compared the Wright Brothers to Professor Langley (one invented flight, the other was a dismal failure) and he discussed exactly how  Dr. Martin Luther King was able to galvanize an entire nation into supporting the Civil Rights movement with his famous “I have a Dream” speech. 

At the core, Sinek argues “People don’t buy what you do, but WHY you do it.”  Most salespeople make the mistake of leading the conversation with What (all about your products and services) and How they work.   However, the underlying Cause or Belief is missing and that’s the most important part of the equation.   That’s the Why.   If people do business with people they like (and they do), then it’s critical to tell them what you believe in, why you’re doing what you’re doing.   That’s how you make a connection, and it’s the first fundamental in establishing trust and rapport.

Unique Value Proposition

For years, I’ve been training salespeople how to discover and clearly express the unique value derived from their product/service.  Most sales systems will tell you to “sell benefits, not products,” but very few will go to the next level, which is Value.  People buy products/services when they consider that those products/services are VALUABLE to them.   They also buy because of THEIR value, not yours.

In order to sell value, you first need to ask questions and listen.  You can’t sell value unless you know precisely what is considered valuable by your prospect, can you?   There’s nothing dumber than spending all your time extolling the virtues of Product X, only to find out that your prospect has no need for Product X or they already have one!   First, ask questions and listen, and then make a list of what is most important to your prospect.  If that value lines up with what you’re intending to present, then you should continue by all means.  If not, find another prospect that is more qualified.

Every so often, I run across a great idea which forces me to change my sales methodology, and Mr. Sinek has succeeded in that regard.   His “Start with Why” approach cuts through resistance and allows the salesman to make a personal connection, on a gut level, with like minded individuals.  If your personal “Why” lines up with the prospect, you will succeed in establishing tremendous rapport and the rest of your value proposition will land on fertile ground.   If your prospect believes what you believe, then you will quickly and easily establish a solid foundation from which to expand the sales value proposition.

So, here is my “new and improved” approach to a potential new client:

                1.  Start with Why

                2.   Build Trust and Rapport

                3.  Ask questions and Listen

                4.  Determine what’s VALUABLE to them

                5.  Explain your Unique Value Proposition

I look forward to hearing your success stories!