The classic mantra in the theory of selling is that people buy for benefits, not for features and there is a great deal of truth in that. Why wouldn’t there be; it has worked successfully for years. Features fulfil the “want” and benefits, the “need”.
For example, rational people in a buying situation ask the question; “what’s in it for me?” This applies, by the way, to commercial purchasing as well as for us all at this time of the year.
We don’t buy perfume or after shave for what it smells like but rather for the effect that it will have when we wear it.
The same goes for clothes. We buy clothes not expressly for what they look like but sub-consciously perhaps for the effect that they will have on other people when we wear them.
This is all well and good but somehow it misses the point and because I was told about a short video on TED this week, I can see now the real basis for buying into anything, material things, innovation, theories of life, religion, relationships and living, anything.
Grant Leboff, (www.stickymarketing.com) one of the gre atspeakers on the Vistage speaker circuit told us about the video by Simon Sinek (http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.html) which takes the discussion to a far higher level.
In simplistic terms, we all, in our businesses, know exactly what we do. Perhaps to a lesser extent we know how we do it. Very seldom do we know WHY we do what we do.
Discount right away that we do it for money. That is a result not a reason.
The WHY we do things is central to all decision making and when we realise it the change in our approach to business will change and radically.
Sinek takes Apple as an example. If we look at them in a basic sense they are manufacturers of computers and smart telephones. So what? There are many companies out there which do exactly the same thing to a greater or lesser extent.
Apple know what they do, they certainly know how they do it. Critically they know why they do it and that is because they believe that they are there to challenge the status quo; to be completely different.
So they say, “We are different, we think differently, we operate differently and, by the way, we also make well designed computers”. Never mind the fact that they are far and away the most expensive; the six hour queues for the launch of the iPhone 5 and the new range of iPads is testament to their ability to enthuse and to instil the belief that the customer will be buying into something different.
In the same way Winston Churchill inspired the nation during the war even though there were cleverer politicians, even better public speakers. The key was that he inspired belief, belief that the nation would come through the dark days into the light, and, of course, it happened. After the war ended, he didn’t have a credible “why” and the nation looked elsewhere for leadership.
It implies a radical rethink of our marketing message; not just “this is what we do and this is how we do it”; in other words the features, but a rethink to start at WHY we do it, in fact, our purpose in which we believe absolutely.
It will answer the customer’s question of “What’s in it for me?” before it is alsed. Take a look at the Simon Sinek video and be prepared to be inspired.
It could change your (marketing) life.