Why Not Why?

whyIn my book, The Secret To Selling More, I focus on the key question: What? What are customers buying from you they can’t buy, or don’t believe they can buy, anywhere else? This is fundamentally different from the popular thinking on competitive advantage or differentiation, which, tend to focus on what you do that is different. Frankly, I don’t actually care, and generally neither does the customer. They want to know WIIFM (what’s in it for me).

Since the book first came out, I have been asked why I don’t focus on why people buy from a company. A few years back when Simon Sinek’s popular TED Talk about Why came out, the frequency of that question to me increased. (This despite the fact that his talk was about leadership and getting people to follow you based on why you were in business, not why people buy.)

I have always said, I do not believe people actually know why they do what they do. And if they do know, getting them to tell you is REALLY hard. Vindication comes in this article from Advertising Age: “Marketers Stop Asking Consumers ‘Why?‘”

Knowing What they are buying and How they want to buy is the best proxy for Why I know and it is much easier to discern.


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