The funny thing about this post is that it has nothing to do with sales knowledge, business models, product knowledge, competition analysis, or marketing mix. Essentially, this has nothing to do with business at all. Yet, if we do not do this, we might be dooming ourselves before we even start to think about going on a sales call. At the very minimum, failing to do this will result in work that is either done grudgingly or done with minimal effort. Before we even decide that we are going to be selling anything, it is imperative that we figure out and define our whys.
In our sense, a “why” can be defined as a reason for something to be existing or a reason why an action is being performed. Without having a well-defined why, it can be difficult to fully commit to something. That’s why people constantly ask “why?” when being told to do something unusual.
The same can be said about working in sales, marketing, business, or honestly, any profession that requires a significant amount of your time and your energy. For the purpose of sales, we should be defining three primary whys: our personal why, professional why, and our product why.
Define your Personal Why
Our personal why comes before our company why because, in my opinion, it’s a more powerful concept and can sometimes be the defining factor in personal success, regardless of what you do professionally.
Your personal why can be defined as your reason for getting out of bed in the morning and going to work. It’s the thing that makes you tick and drives you to succeed.
It’s an easy definition to type out, and an even easier concept to understand at face value. However, actually defining your own personal why requires some deep introspection and some honest personal soul-searching.
I had a gentleman tell me that his personal why for getting out of bed and going to work everyday was to make money. We all work in sales, which is a very results and profit-driven industry to work in. Most people want to do sales to make as much money as possible. There is nothing wrong with that, but that is not a personal why. Making a bunch of money is simply a result from working – it’s not the reason why you work so hard and devote so much of your life to work. Your personal why has to be much deeper than that.
Your why should be rooted in something that is important to you. Perhaps your why is that you want to send your child to college. Maybe it’s that you want to travel the world. Perhaps it’s that you want to give as much back in the form of charity as you can. Or maybe your why is that you have a deep desire to win and be the best salesperson at your company. Truth be told, it does not matter what exactly your personal why is. If it’s your own personal why, it’s important to you. If it’s truly important to you, use it for motivation. Never forget it. Write it down and keep it in a place where you will always see it. Use it to win.
Someone who has a personal why that is truly important to them will be an unstoppable force. In sales, your why will help you out of ruts and will help you push through failure. It will force you to want to improve and get better each and every day. Remembering your why will prevent you from slacking off and wasting time. It will cause you to rise above and win.
Defining your personal why before you embark on your sales call and your entire mindset will be different. It will be less of “I hope I get this sale” and more of “I WILL get this sale.” As we will explore later on in this book, your mindset and general attitude can make all the difference.
Know your Professional Why
Once you define your personal why, you can take a look at the company that you work or the product that you sell and identify the why behind that.
Using similar terminology, the professional why can be defined as the reason for a company or a product to exist. Again, the reason why a company exists is not to make money. That’s merely a result of the company doing their daily activities. Similar to the personal why, a company/product has to have a strong why behind it that fuels their motivation.
A good way to figure out your professional why is to look at the mission statement of your company. Each company has a well-defined mission statement that serves to drive and motivate the individuals within that company.
Coca-Cola, one of the world’s leading beverage companies, has a well-defined and powerful mission statement that every employee stands behind. Their mission statement is “To refresh the world in mind, body and spirit. To inspire moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and actions.” Notice that nowhere in there it says that making money is their primary goal – it’s just the result of the execution of their mission. You can see their mission statement come to fruition in everything that they do, from their advertisements to their worldwide distribution network.
Every company has a mission statement. Figure out what yours is and take it to heart. Having a shared vision and a shared set of values and goals is important because it not only helps build trust with prospects, but helps you trust the company that you work for. We will dive into this later on, but showing a strong and unified front to the prospect is important in building trust. Sharing the same set of core values and a shared mission only enhances the chance of establishing trust.
Another way you can define your professional why is to have a passion for what you sell and have that clearly identified in your head. For example – you might sell houses because you have a true passion for helping people find their dream home. I actually spoken to and worked with many funeral professionals who could care less about the money because they have a real passion for helping families get through their toughest hours. If you have a true and real passion for what you do professionally, that can serve as a very powerful professional why too.
Know your Product Why
Your product why piggybacks off of the professional why, so we won’t spend a great deal of time on it. Essentially, your product why is the reason for your product/service to exist specifically tailored to the prospect.
You can always incorporate elements of your company’s overall mission statement and values in here, but the why at this part needs to be specific to the product/service you are selling and the individual you are talking to. For example, let’s say that you work for a company that sells mortgages to people. Rather than a traditional mortgage company, your company aims to be the most simple and easiest-to-understand mortgage company in the market. If you are talking to a first time buyer, your why would go something like this:
“Here, we know that buying a house can be scary, especially if you are a first time buyer. Traditional mortgage company can not only be inconvenient for the always-busy modern family, but also complicated to understand. Here, we believe that buying a home should be a stress-free and exciting experience. We offer a service that is both easy to understand and convenient for you.”
Finding your why, personally, professionally, and product-wise can be challenging. You might have to do some deep introspection before you figure it out. Even if you do figure it out, it’s easy to lose sight of it. Every now and again, it’s imperative that you take a time out to figure out what your whys are so you can not only gain a fresh perspective, but a regained motivation to succeed.
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