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Nobody Cares About Your Why
January 15, 2018
By Howard Mann

With apologies to Simon Sinek, nobody really cares about your “why.” They want you to care about theirs.

Most every business I talk to has figured out their “why” (And cannot WAIT to tell me all about it), but they are no better, and usually worse, at clearly articulating why someone should buy their product or service. The reason, to me, is that nobody cares about your why. They care about theirs. Yes, we all have all watched Simon’s TED talk about how Apple uses their “why” to rule the world. If only it was so simple to win the hearts, minds and dollars of the customers and clients we crave. For the rest of us, the rubber meets the road when you pitch your product/service and your words hit your audience in the ears. How effectively you do that matters far more to the future of your business than your why.

Uber and Lyft can talk all they want about solving transportation for the world. Doesn’t matter. What is matters to customers is hitting the “I want a car right now” button on their app, a car showing up and taking them where they want to go. Full stop. Whoever is the best at doing that, within some pricing constraints, wins.

So let’s jump into your next big pitch to a customer or client. Do you start off with telling everyone assembled about your purpose, mission or why? Lesson one: Please stop.

Do you know their why? Lesson two: Learn it before you step into that room.

What buyers want from you in that moment is to make them ridiculously confident that you can solve their problem and accelerate their mission with the least amount of effort on their part. The more you are talking about anything else, the less they care (Side note, if it takes you more than 10 slides to do it, keep editing).

When I say you will solve their problem, I am talking about solving it all the way until the results show up in their bank account. Nobody really cares how the sausage is made, they care how it tastes.

If I could design the perfect pitch meeting, I would cut out all those slides about your company history, that grid that shows your team (You know, the one with the great smiling bunch of people that are also sitting in the room) and any talk about the change you are trying to make in the world (OK, maybe the last slide after they are ready to buy).

Instead, walk into the room and tell them “NOBODY is better at [What you do] so that you can [Tangible/measurable benefit they will realize].” Then drop a fat printed book filled with 100 past customers/clients attesting to how you rocked their world and are worth 20X what you charge. Answer questions about how they get started and how much time you need. Drop the mic and walk out. You won.

But can you complete the blanks in the above sentence? Not in that cold corporate jargon that only serves to make you feel good about yourself, but in plain English so anyone will understand it right after the words leave your mouth?

If you are not the best at whatever niche you are looking to sell to, you now know what you have to get to work on. If you cannot clearly articulate how your ideal client will realize a measurable benefit that is a large multiple of your fees then you need to figure it out. NOW.

Save your “why” for your cozy off-site meetings or as a focusing tool for what you should offer the market. Instead, follow these three steps:

  1. Understand what your business is the best at doing (and who would value it the most).
  2. Know precisely how your customers/clients realize INSANE value from it (And how you will make it happen with the least amount of effort on their part).
  3. Be relentless about building momentum around 1 and 2.

End of rant. Thanks for listening.

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