In his book “Start With Why”, author Simon Sinek offers readers many insights, with none more important than this one: “If you talk about what you believe, you will attract those who believe what you believe.”
Sinek’s book essentially details the research that helped him to arrive at this groundbreaking “discovery”: more important to consumers than learning what our products and services can do, or even how our solutions may be superior to those provided by our competitors, what consumers really want to know is what you believe — or what Sinek describes as your “Why”. (It could be argued Aristotle identified this just a few years earlier as the important appeal to emotion – or ethos – in his lesson explaining the three essential components to the art of persuasion)
Does focusing consumers on your “Why” conflict with conventional sales and marketing thought leadership? After all, haven’t we been encouraged to uncover our customer’s wants and needs, and then explain the customized and helpful solutions we have structured to meet those unmet needs? Or, since Sinek’s research indicates consumers’ real “wants” are to conduct business with those who understand and can explain their “why”, isn’t it possible that by explaining our “why” we are actually providing what consumers really want? Think about it.
Consider your own value proposition for a moment or two. Is it focused on explaining to others what you do / who you serve / how your solution is different and better? If so, the good news is your value proposition is just like most others. You explain your what and how. The not so good news: it is not focused on what Sinek’s research indicates to be the real wants of those you serve. Where is your why? No ethos?? Consider Sinek and Aristotle. You can do better.
What does any of this have to do with “the ‘hood?!” My hometown is one that many would refer to as “the ‘hood”. (Plainfield, NJ for those who are interested, still a great town in my opinion) Although after college many years ago I moved far away, it remains an important part of who I am, and I visit regularly. When I return, at least a few I re-connect with will end a conversation with the question “Do you feel me?” Not only in this town, but in many others like it. During a recent trip, hearing this question caused me to think of Simon Sinek’s “discovery” and caused me to think: if Sinek had been from my hometown, he may have spared himself years of research. Those in my hometown and others like it have always known: when trying to positively influence others, you want those you are speaking with to think “I feel you!” when you speak with them.
Do you feel me? I am pretty sure Simon Sinek would.
What do you believe? Have you explained that to those you serve? If not,why not?