How many times a day do you listen to or see a sales message?
Probably hundreds or even thousands of time. Every time you communicate with somebody, every time you step out the door, you are surrounded with sales messages.
How do they normally sound?
Maybe your friend says “Let’s go to the cinema on Friday. The new Mission Impossible is out”. Maybe the store window says “Buy one, get one free”. Maybe the TV ad says “Buy the new Ford. 250 hp, only 6 liters of fuel on 100 km”. Or maybe the radio ad says “Have you heard about the new designer clothing store in town? They have over 5000 items at 50% sales this weekend. See you on Saturday”.
What’s wrong with these messages and how can you avoid these mistakes when selling yourself as an executive?
Let me show you in this article, which is step 4 out of 8 Steps to Build Relationships With CEOs and Other Influential People.
Inspiring vs. Selling
Simon Sinek has completely changed the way I look at business and how I do business. I used to sell, sell, sell. Now I do my best to inspire, inspire, inspire as much as I can.
Simon Sinek talks about the concept of the Golden Circle. Watch his TEDx presentation to be inspired and learn how the Golden Circle inspires action.
In the concept of the Golden Circle, everything starts with Why. It’s the fundamental question that always has to be asked at the very beginning of anything.
It’s not really a new idea. Think about it.
When you start a new project, what’s the very first question that you need to ask before you do anything else? Is it “How many resources do we need?” Is it “What are the milestones of the project?”
The first question you always need to ask is “What’s the purpose of this project” or in others words “Why are we doing this?”.
If you can’t answer that question, you don’t need to start the project because it will most certainly go to waste.
The same applies for everything we do. Maybe you want to get promoted. Maybe you want to change careers. Or maybe you want to grow your management consulting business.
What are the questions you ask yourself before you reach out to a decision maker, maybe a CEO?
In order to even get a chance of success, the first questions need to be “Why do I reach out to this person?” and “Why should he care?”.
If the answer to the first question is “Because I want something from him”, the second question won’t be an easy one to answer.
How to Start With Why
It’s challenging to start with Why if you are not used to it. I have learned that I need to start with Why when I worked with my very first executive client. I have told that story a few times already but it’s well worth repeating it.
During our conversation, he asked me “Daniel, do you know why I hired you as an advisor?” With a confident voice, I said “Sure, because I have the skills you need and the experience in personal branding and effective networking”.
He smiled and said “No, that is what I hired you for. Why I hired you is because you believe what I believe. It’s because we look at the world from the same angle”.
I am forever grateful to that wise man who opened my eyes for the concept of Why.
Obviously, I must have done something right that he hired me. So I explored it further and that’s where I came across Simon Sinek.
I unconsciously already applied the concept without knowing of it. I guess it’s because I can’t talk about something with passion if I don’t fully believe in it and I can’t talk about something if I’m not passionate about it.
To be able to leverage the concept of Why to advance your career, you first need to work on yourself. If you don’t know why you do what you do, how are you supposed to inspire great organizations to hire you?
This is one of the first things I always do with my clients. Without starting with Why in your communication, when you are out there networking and reaching out to decision makers, you won’t inspire anybody.
To inspire great organizations to hire you, download the Communication Excellence Workbook.
How to Not Sell Your New Album on the Radio
Last week, while listening to Radio Energy in Basel, I noticed the concept of the Why in action, or better to say in inaction.
Two DJs released a new album and they were on the show to promote their new record. After an initial discussion, the radio host asked them “So, why should I buy this new album?”.
After a short quiet break, one of the DJs said “Well, because we are two cool guys and we are both on the cover.” He probably immediately realized that this was not the most effective thing to say and followed up with “Also, it’s a mix between rock and electro”. He went on about what the album is all about and what kinds of music was on there.
I could feel that the radio host was not feeling an urge to buy the new record. I also did not feel like rushing to the store right now.
After a few more What statements, the other DJ jumped in. He must have felt there was something wrong with the communication.
He started with saying “Honestly, you should by this new album because it will make you feel happy. It’s the perfect mix of music for summer. It will amplify your feeling of happiness and freedom.”
He was very right with jumping in an finishing their promotion with these sentences. He did not fully dive into the Why, but at least, he explained the emotional and spiritual benefits that go along with buying the new record. By talking about these benefits, he made an emotional connection and got much closer to an answer that resonates with the question “Why should I buy this?”.
What if he would have started with something like “We believe that music is here to make people feel total freedom and to put a smile on people’s faces. That’s exactly what our new record does. It will make your summer even more enjoyable and will fill you up with a feeling of freedom and happiness. It’s a mix of rock and electro music.”
This way, they would have started with Why. Do you see the difference? Suddenly you want to ask me who these DJs were so you can go buy their new record.
How to Not Sell Yourself as an Executive
I remember one of my early executive clients who came to me. He was a Country Manager for Eastern Europe and wanted to transition to Switzerland. I told him “Imagine I am the CEO of an inspiring organization you want to work with. Why should I hire you?”.
He started with “I have worked over 15 years in business development and executive level management with small to large organizations. On average, I have been able to increase sales by 110% during my engagements.”
And he went on talking about What for some time. I looked at him and told him my story about my very first client who opened my eyes for the Why concept. We worked hard on making his communication Why-centered and to express his unique personal brand.
After a few sessions, I asked him again to answer the question of “Why should I hire you?”.
This time, his answer sounded profoundly different. He said “I believe people are the most valuable asset of an organization. That’s why I always treat my employees with the utmost respect. Due to the continuous trust and loyalty of my employees during my past engagements, I have been able to increase sales by 110% on average.”
Do you see the difference? He started with Why and then followed up with How. This changes everything because now, he inspires through his communication and makes an emotional connection with the recipient of the message.
If you are a heart-centered & entrepreneurial-minded executive and want to leverage the concept of Why to create a world-changing career in Switzerland, get in touch with me.
Here’s to the Crazy Ones
In 1997, Apple launched their Think Different commercial. It’s a one minute commercial, filled with Why and purely inspirational. It’s a great example of how to inspire instead of selling. Watch the video here.
[pwal id=”66350233″ description=”Share this article and inspire others to start with Why”][/pwal]