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As entrepreneurs and business owners, we have been told time and time again to start with “why.” In fact, Simon Sinek’s famous TED talk on the subject has been viewed millions of times, and his book “Start With Why” has become a bestseller. The idea is that if we can clearly articulate our purpose, our mission, and our values, we can inspire our team, attract customers, and differentiate ourselves in the marketplace. But what if Simon Sinek was wrong? What if starting with “why” is not as important as we’ve been led to believe? What if no one gives a rat’s ass about our why? In this blog, we’ll explore why starting with your “why” may not be the best approach for every business, and what you should focus on instead.

Your ‘Why” Does Matter – Sometimes

Through his TEDTalk “Start With Why”, Simon Sinek made the pursuit of identifying one’s passion, motivation, and meaning in their entrepreneurial pursuits an integral part of business development. It’s easy to see why  – it strikes a chord with the creative, driven characteristics most entrepreneurs share. 

It speaks to passion and drive. A person’s why is what helps them get out of bed in the morning on days when business ownership feels overwhelming. You need to know your why to be successful. 

Identifying your why is exciting. Once you’ve articulated it, you want to shout it from the rooftops. You’re enthusiastic! You’re passionate! You’re Tom Cruise-jumping-on-Oprah’s-couch! You know what else you are? Annoying.

Knowing your why is super important internally. You care about your why. Your partners care about your why. Your employees especially care about your why. Your clients and prospects? They don’t actually care about your why – not at first (and very possibly not ever). They care about their why and whether or not you can help them achieve their goals and solve their problems so that they can continue living their why.

Using ‘Why’ to Build Trust

A successful business differentiates itself from competitors, builds meaningful relationships with clients and customers, and engages its team in order to maximize value. 

You can’t build meaningful relationships or deliver value without building trust first. Building consumer trust is step one in delivering value and driving success. Your why does help this. Your why does speak to trust. Clearly expressing your passion and motivation when it comes to your owning and operating a business helps to build the relationship between you and your target customers. It helps to build an emotional connection and trust as a well-defined why will resonate with the right prospects. 

You know what builds trust with a target customer even faster? Proof that you understand their problem, not just as well as they do, but even better than they do. Explain their problem to them in a way they can’t and you’ve built instant trust. 

Building Value By Solving Your Target Audience’s Problems

Your prospects care about two things: they care that you know their why and that your product or service, by meeting their needs or solving their problems, allows them to continue living their why. That’s it. So rather than spending time communicating your why to your target customers, spend time creating and communicating a valuable offer. 

Communicating a valuable offer means showing your understanding of their motivations, pain points, and goals. These are the key elements of a valuable offer. By understanding these in every client you pursue, you can tailor your offer to demonstrate how you can provide the solutions they need. 

Don’t ‘sell’ here. Don’t create a solution you can’t provide. Remember, you’re building relationships with clients and customers to drive your success – be truthful.  Even if you have a good understanding of your target customers’ problems, it won’t matter much if your product or service can provide a solution with tangible value to them.

Making a Valuable Offer 

What’s valuable to each prospect is unique. There’s no one way to offer value to everyone but there is a way to help everyone find value in your offer. 

Alex Hormozi, the author of the book “100 Million Offers,” defined the value equation seen in the picture below.

Value = Dream outcome x Perceived likelihood of success / (Sacrifice and Effort x Time)

I like this – a lot – but I have my own take on it. My value is equation is: 

Value = Dream outcome / Perceived likelihood of Failure x Sacrifice and Effort x Time)

Breaking Down The Value Equation

Let’s break that down:

The dream outcome and the perceived likelihood of success are what you want to increase. You want to make the dream outcome big. It should be big. It might be something like a house or travel or your health or whatnot. Then you multiply that by how much the client believes they can reach that dream outcome. That’s really important – if the client honestly believes they can achieve this outcome, the offer becomes more valuable to them. (You can think of this another way, too. Make the top the solution. What is it? How big is it?)

Those items on the bottom are the things you want to decrease. So those are things like how long is success going to take? The other part is effort and sacrifice. Does this require anything of the customer? How tough is this going to be for them?

In either scenario, you want to maximize the likelihood of achieving the dream outcome while minimizing the amount of effort and time it takes to get there. Notice how no part of this is about your product or your service – it’s about providing their dream outcome while requiring little effort and risk on the part of the client. 

Value in Action

Suppose you want to get healthy so you decide you’ll start going to the gym. This takes time, effort, and money. It requires a sacrifice on your part. (the divisor of this equation is not small). Now, if there were a pill or medical procedure that could make you healthy without the same time and effort commitment then the divisor would be a lot less – and the value of the solution would increase. 

This speaks to cost, too. Don’t equate discounted pricing to lower sacrifice. The cost of a product or service should not be based on perceived value – and you shouldn’t be trying to increase the perceived value of your products and services by discounting the cost. Leave cost out of it. It does not belong here. (In the example above, that medical procedure would likely cost more money than that gym membership but would be worthwhile to many because of the time and effort saved.)

Key Takeaways

  • You, your partners, and your team need to know your why; your customers don’t. 
  • Customers need to know that you know their why and can help solve their problems so they can continue to live their why.
  • Build trust by explaining a potential customer’s problems to them more clearly than they can explain them. 
  • Move to build value by creating an offer that solves this problem in a meaningful way. Refer to the value equation to make sure your offer focuses on the solution and the client’s dream outcome – not the product or service itself. 

Digital Sandwich Can Help

If you’re looking to ensure that you are delivering value and building trust with your target audience, we can help. Contact us to start building a content-driven online marketing strategy that will engage, attract, and convert your perfect prospects today.

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