Start with your WHY and set yourself apart

In a world where customers have the choice of multiple virtually identical products and services for just about anything they want – how do you make them pick yours?

According to Simon Sinek you start with WHY you do, what you do. Sinek is the inventor of the Golden Circle, a concept which can be applied to help you set your business apart from your competitors.

So how can this concept help you?

By showing you how to differentiate yourself from your competitors, so customers will buy from you rather than from your competition.
People identify with businesses.

Simon’s concept is based on this fact: people buy from specific businesses, because they identify with WHY those businesses do, what they do.
His prime example is Apple. According to Simon the WHY of Apple is to challenge the Status Quo and to be different. Apple does this by creating beautiful computers which are easy to use.
The image Apple reflects to the world is one of a rebellious and cool company, which incidentally happens to make really good computers.

By buying an Apple computer buyers who feel rebellious or want to be cool not only get the hardware they need: they also get the satisfaction of buying from a like-minded company. And by using an Apple computer or an iPhone they can show the world their inner feelings, every time they switch on their MacBook Pro.

More loyal customers

As a result Apple buyers are far more loyal than those of any other computer manufacturer.

This isn’t just limited to expensive products such as computers and cars, by the way.

Take organically grown fruit and vegetables. Customers buy those to eat healthier and to feel good about saving the world.

If you as seller can convey that this is also WHY you grow and sell your fruit and vegetables, they will be far more likely to buy from you than from a competitor, who is only exploiting a market niche.

More than price and quality

Let’s say a customer is into saving the world one organic fruit at a time.

Who would she rather buy from, if price and quality are pretty much the same? From a supplier with no back-story, or from the business which is also into saving the world by working only with and thereby supporting small family farms?

When you bring your WHY into play, and your customers get it, a sale becomes more than just a transaction of money and goods.

An exchange among like-minded

The simple purchase turns into an exchange between likeminded people and creates a much stronger bond between seller and buyer. Customers will feel good about the purchase over and beyond the value of the purchased item because they can identify with the WHY of the seller – which clearly can only mean good things for repeat sales.

Looking back at Apple, the right WHY will even get customers to pay a premium for the privilege to feel good about themselves and to show the world what they are all about.

So your WHY can be a great differentiator to help you boost your sales. By the way, the answer to your WHY is not that you run your business to make money. That’s a given. The answer is why you decided to go into this particular business over and beyond any other opportunity to make money.

A powerful sales booster

While Sinek’s Golden Circle and your WHY may not be applicable in all situations, they can be a powerful sales and customer loyalty booster, when properly implemented.

After all, if a business doesn’t know its customers, nothing will help. But if it knows its customers well and has a good product, it still needs to find a way to stand out from all its competitors.

Merely competing on price or adding a feature here and there isn’t the greatest strategy for long term survival.

People do care about WHY you do what you do if they purchase from you – especially if they identify with WHY you do it.

Word of mouth referrals

If you sell insurance and you come across as sincerely interested in your customer’s welfare because you like to help people – which would be your WHY – you are much more likely to get the sale – and Word of Mouth referrals.

On the other hand if customers feel you just want to sell insurance to make a quick buck and you couldn’t care less about them, they will be less likely to buy from you or to recommend you to friends.

If you love to help people and they can sense that this is WHY you do your job, it definitely won’t hurt your sales.
 It’s not about the money

If you manufacture greeting cards, you could argue that your WHY is to generate an income. But is that really WHY you got into this business in the first place?
 Or did you start out by creating your first greeting cards to brighten up someone’s day? This happens to be exactly the same reason, why someone buys your cards – so your WHY in your marketing could be the one differentiator, which sets you apart from a competitor and gets you the sale.

Start with a passion

Few people start a business only to make money. They often have a passion for what they do. If they can bring that passion across to customers as their WHY, they gain a clear edge with customers who share that passion.

By attracting buyers to you who share your passion, your WHY, you can create a more loyal customer base, because you offer them something others don’t: A reason to identify with you and your business.

If customers can feel good about a purchase, because they identify with the reasons WHY you are offering your products and services, it will help them make up their mind to buy from you, to refer you to their friends and to become a return customer.

Just another marketing strategy?

Reviewing Sinek’s concept, it is easy to get the impression that this is just another marketing strategy. You might as well go and find a great WHY, whatever it is, and then use that in your marketing.

The problem with this approach is, that it usually creates a misalignment between what you do and how you market yourself. A misalignment which customers can sense – and which makes you less trustworthy.

A real WHY does far more. It makes you align every action you take with WHY you run you business. You become consistent with all your messaging and look more believable to your customers. Not just for a short marketing action but over the long term.

Grow your business

Of course even the greatest WHY cannot overcome an inferior product or service, or the lack of required functions.

But if all things are pretty much equal, your WHY can be the deciding factor which nets you the sales and provides your customers with a higher level of satisfaction. This in turn will help you grow your business.

PS: Watch Simon Sinek’s Video