I Have to Have a ‘Why?’ … Why?

As an entrepreneur, it is critical to have a ‘why.’ What does that mean?

Your ‘why’ is the reason you are doing business in the first place. It’s what fuels your fire and gets you up in the morning excited to start your day. Businesses with a ‘why’ do better than those that don’t because it connects the consumer with your product or service.

I saw a great example of this on The Partner, the CNBC reality show starring serial entrepreneur, Marcus Lemonis. In one of the episodes, he gave the contestants the challenge of selling products at a mall kiosk.

If you’ve ever walked by a mall kiosk, I’m assuming you’ve also executed the head-down-if-I-don’t-look-at-them-they-won’t-ask-me-to-try-a-sample method. Point being: these entrepreneurs had their work cut out for them, even if they did have cameras following them to add intrigue.

Marcus told the contestants they could research a number of different products and then choose the products they wanted to sell at their kiosk. The group that generated the highest sales total would win.

The contestants chose products they thought would be most appealing to the consumers that also had the best sales margin: candy, popcorn, designer bags, etc. They overlooked Flex watches, a product that donates 10-percent of sales to charity (each watch represents a different charity). Their mindset was that it would take too long to explain the backstory and, therefore, wouldn’t be worth trying to sell at a mall kiosk.

In the show, Marcus steps in after the groups are mostly unsuccessful and has a mall employee (or extra?) pitch the watches to passing customers. She sells seven (or something like that) in 30 minutes because she catches the attention of passers-by when she tells them that each purchase benefits a charity.

Now, I recognize this is reality TV that must have a plot to hold the attention of viewers (so we can question whether some of this was staged), but the overarching message rings true: people stop and pay attention when there is a purpose behind a sale.

Think about it: we are inundated with countless pitches on a daily basis with an ever-decreasing attention span. What is going to set one business apart from another? Tapping into emotions. Even when we are talking about products — cleaning products, for example — there are internal and philosophical reasons we purchase.

Network marketing is another great example. There are countless consultants selling the exact same products to friends and family. The difference-maker is the ‘why.’ Someone is selling products to start a college fund, pay medical bills, or go on vacation. The more touching the purpose behind the sales, the more sales the individual will receive.

If you are a business coach, it is critical to set yourself apart from others within your space. Having a well-developed ‘why’ — e.g. you want to empower female business owners or help driven start-ups — will connect you with your potential clients.

It’s all about the ‘why.’

So, do you have a ‘why?’ What is it?

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