“Start with Why”: How to Win Customers by Focusing More on Why You Sell vs. What You Sell

The marketplace is crowded with a multitude of options for just about every kind of product or service one can imagine. So how can you ensure that your business stands out from the crowd and succeeds? The answer may surprise you.

Yes, you should sell a high-quality product or service that solves your customers’ problems and pain points or helps them attain a desired outcome or transformation. Ultimately, businesses exist to provide things that people want or need — whether it’s a cup of coffee to start their day, a product to clean their home, a tool to help them improve their health, wealth, or relationships, or a mid-day snack that won’t crash their energy.

But the “what” you’re selling isn’t what inspires customers to buy from you or not. It may seem that it is, but there’s something deeper driving their purchase decision.

What inspires customers to buy your product or service, and keeps them loyal to your business, isn’t what you’re selling — or even how it’s better than what your competitors are selling. Rather, it’s why you’re selling it. In fact, a business’ “why” is ultimately what compels people to choose one business over another.

Take the popular restaurant Chipotle, for example. People choose Chipotle because they resonate with and appreciate the company’s “why” — which is to promote better health by providing a healthier yet delicious fast-food alternative. Chipotle’s “why” is expressed across all of its marketing materials, so that customers know they’re eating “real food” made with fresh, non-GMO ingredients from a company that cares about their health.

Brands like Chipotle prove everyday that one of the most powerful ways to differentiate your business in your market (and capture more of it) is to have a strong “why” behind what you’re creating, doing, or offering. And at the same time, it’s important to make sure your prospects and customers know and understand that “why.”

Think about it: why did you start your business? The obvious answer for many business owners might be to make money, and perhaps become well-known in their community, state, country, or the world at large. And there’s nothing wrong with being successful, profitable or famous — it means that your customers are getting something they want or need, and you’re enjoying some well-earned rewards in the process.

However, the most successful market leaders (like Chipotle) have a more profound and interesting answer to this question of “why.” Their “why” often has to do with serving a cause greater than themselves — such as changing lives, making the world a healthier, happier place, disrupting the status quo to accelerate human progress, and so on.

This type of “why” is what sets true leaders apart from the pack.

Watch This Brilliant Talk by Author and Organizational Consultant Simon Sinek to Learn Why Your “Why” Could Be What Makes or Breaks Your Success

As Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Using Apple, the Wright Brothers and Martin Luther King, Jr. as examples, he breaks down why the world’s most successful leaders and innovators have achieved what others couldn’t. Hint: it all starts with their “why.”

Does your business or business idea have a compelling “why”? Let us know in the comments below.