Sell me with your Why, not your What

Because nobody cares what your company or organization does.

As marketers and communicators, we often get caught up wanting to explain what our company or organization does. We think what we do (our “what”) is the most important thing potential customers need to know about us.

That’s where we’re wrong.

  • Your “what” will not distinguish you from your competitors.
  • Your “what” will not establish a meaningful connection with your prospects.
  • Your “what” will not incite action or create loyalty.

It’s not your “what”—it’s your “why.”

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”

Simon Sinek staked this claim in his leadership book, Start With Why, and I saw the concept in action when Scott Harrison, founder of Charity Water, spoke at Mirren Live in New York City last May. Scott was one of the keynote speakers at the conference, and by the time his talk ended, he had the majority of the people in auditorium standing, indicating their pledge to donate their birthdays to his cause. Conference organizers also announced a generous cash donation to the organization at the close of Scott’s talk.

Scott didn’t talk about Charity Water and what it does. He talked about how clean water changes people’s lives.

You might be thinking, “Well yeah, this guy is saving people’s lives—we’re just selling (widgets).”

And I’ll tell you it doesn’t matter.

The same people who buy into causes also buy products and services. They will be more likely to buy yours if you can articulate how your product or service makes their lives better. That’s your “why.” And that’s what people want to buy from you.

If you need help identifying your “why,” get in touch. It’s why we’re here—to help companies connect with customers by putting their best story forward.  

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