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Why the “Why” is the Thing

How discovering your “why” attracts customers, then converts them from casual customers to devoted fans.

Simon Sinek, author of the book “Start with Why,” recorded a Ted Talk back in 2010. It’s had over 45 million views, and there’s a good reason for that. He explains, with great examples from diverse leaders such as Apple, Martin Luther King, Jr, and the Wright brothers, that it’s much more important to consider the “why” of what you do rather than the “what” or the “how.”

Understanding why your company exists, why you get out of bed in the morning, and why anyone should care, is fundamental to your success. Most people in business have never really given it that much thought. They concentrate on the products and services they provide and how they provide them.

But that’s not good enough anymore.

In today’s world, where information bombards us at lightning speed, where we can’t escape the overload no matter what we do, your “terrific service” or your “amazing product” just can’t make a dent in people's consciousness.

What will set you apart from the others in today’s world is explaining what motivates you. Your story. How you got into this business and why you spend countless hours to make it the best it can be. Why it matters to you. And why it will matter to others.

That’s what people crave. And that’s what will drive customers to you instead of the other guy.

The Apple Effect

Sinek shows why Apple is a great example of how marketing the “why” drives sales.

Think about it. Apple makes a great computer, but is it really that much better or different from other brands? And why are they also killing the market with phones? And tablets? And earbuds?

According to Sinek, it’s because they work from the inside out. He calls this the “golden circle.”

From ‘Share the Golden Circle’ by Simon Sinek. Available at

Most computer companies market from the outside in.

Sinek explains, “If Apple were like everyone else, a marketing message might go something like this: ‘We make great computers (what). They’re beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly (how). Wanna buy one??’ Meh.”

That’s how most marketing and sales are done. We expect people to take action after we tell them what we do or tout our product. In today’s world that’s just more blah, blah, blah.

Apple, however, does the opposite. They work from the inside out.

“With everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo (why). We believe in thinking differently (why). The way we challenge the status quo is to make things that are beautifully designed, easy to use, and user friendly (how). We just happen to make great computers (what). Wanna buy one??”

It’s inspiring! It breaks through the noise to build trust and credibility with your target market. There’s no hidden agenda. When you message your business based on your core “why”, success flows more easily because people trust you, know you, and understand you.

Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

If you’re running a business just to make money and there’s no soul connection to what you’re doing, it’s going to be hard for people to connect to your company.

In the old paradigm, this didn’t matter. In the new paradigm of marketing, emotional connection and authenticity are vital to your marketing success. Depth in your communication causes you to outshine your competition.

Communicating your “why” is the depth that people are seeking. Your “why” makes you memorable.

It takes self reflection to pinpoint your own internal patterns that describe the why for what you do! However, connecting to your why creates motivation and gives your company an inherent purpose that's often attractive to your audience.

As Sinek says, there’s nothing all that special about what Apple does.

Their competitors have brilliant technicians and access to technology. They’re certainly qualified to make good computers.

But who would buy a watch from a computer company?

Millions do it everyday.

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

Your company, the products you sell or the services you provide, are the proof of what you believe.

So get out there! Dream big, believe strongly, and share your vision.

Do the self reflection to pinpoint your own internal patterns that describe the “why” for what you do and BIG THINGS will happen!

If you’d like to see Sinek’s TedTalk, and I recommend that you do, you can access it here.

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