Why Do You Do What You Do?

When I consult with an organization, I listen quite carefully as executives tell me what  they do.

Every organization on the planet seems to know what it does, no matter size or industry. Yet when organizations focus on this what, they tend to lead with and sell products and services.

Pretend for a moment the what is the face of the corporate body.

Of those organizations focused on process, the executives are usually good at telling you how they do what they do. An even smaller percentage can tell you what they do AND how they do it.

Whether you refer to this focus as your value positioning, point of differentiation, or unique selling proposition, explaining the how gets prospects off the face of you right into the nervous system of your business. I am a big believer in leading with the how—how you help clients solve their issues.

Many organizations develop processes to differentiate from competitors. My own process is the five-step MERGE approach that enables prospects to understand “it’s not what we do that’s different (the what); it’s how we do it that produces better results for our clients.” From this vantage point, the  explanation makes perfect sense, especially when backed up by quantifiable client examples.

I’m concerned with WHY you do your business? Answer that and you’ll feel the true beating heart of your business.

In his best-selling book Start with Why, Simon Sinek claims very few people or companies can clearly articulate why they do what they do. C-level executives or business owners typically answer with “well, it’s about making money, right?”

To Sinek, why means: What’s your purpose, cause or belief?  Why does your company exist? Why do you get out of bed every morning?

And why should anyone care?

When organizations or people think, act or communicate, we do so from the outside in, or from what to why, he explains. We go from clearest thing to the fuzziest thing. The mind works first with what it knows.

Let me share two videos in the financial services business that demonstrate how to communicate from the inside out: High Tower Advisors and Lion Street. Listen for the why.

Stay with me here. Commonly, we say what we do. We sometimes even say how we do it. Regrettably, we rarely say why we do what we do.

Examples of business whys:

To free up one-third of our client’s workday;
To reduce operating expense by 20 percent;
To raise efficiencies on production lines so manufacturers can bring work back to America.

What’s my why? To use my passion for marketing and sales to inspire others to grow their business with a pragmatic eye on results.

Take an hour out of one day. Sit down with your team. Ask the question: Why do we do what we do?

You may be amazed by all the different answers. Build consensus for the strongest of the lot, test it with friends of the court, then fill in the how and what.

My humble advice:   Breathe some oxygen into your value proposition. Embed the why.

And communicate your why to every client and prospect.

It’s the reason they’ll care about your business.

See you on the upside,

News Alert

MERGE 2.0, read my latest book, now released by the publisher and available on Amazon to purchase.  Learn everything you need to know to book revenue in the new realities of B2B professional selling.

And, if you’re not a reader and prefer interactive learning, take our MERGE 2.0 online learning course.  Go here for more info.

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