April 8, 2013

"People Don't Buy What You Do, They Buy Why You Do It"

Today we have a guest blogger, a local home builders association (HBA) executive officer from Pennsylvania. Jim Miller is the York Builders Association executive vice president and, although he may deny it, a dear friend of mine. Jim, in a prior HBA life, was a business owner and associate member, serving his local in volunteer leadership roles as well as having leadership roles with the Pennsylvania Builders Association, including Associate Vice President, a senior officer position. Jim has the good fortune of , from understanding the association, from a volunteer member perspective and now in his current role as EVP.from "both sides of the aisle."
Jim isn't impressed by much so when he wanted to share his column for York's member publication with Association Maximization I knew it would be prudent to share.

"People Don't Buy What You Do, They Buy Why You Do It"
by James Miller
Executive Vice President, York Builders Association

Jim Miller
There were quite a few York Builders Association (YBA happenings I could have talked about for this column (Home Show, Installation, International Builders Show (IBS), Pennsylvania Builders Association's (PBA) winter meeting, but one email in particular from a fellow (are women fellows?) executive officer from Pennsylvania has my brain spinning.  She sent me a link to a TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talk and I have sat and watched and tried to absorb this presentation several times.  As I sat today to prep for writing this column and watched it once again, I sent an email to Staff and directed them to drop everything and simply watch, that's how impressed I am with the video.  Now if you know the YBA Staff and a bit of the dynamic that exists around here, that email directive was not enough to actually get them to watch, it also took a strong personal poke my head in their office and STRONGLY suggest that I did mean now.  And, that almost did the trick.

Anyway, here is the link and following is a bit of conversation about the 18 minute TED talk that I would SUGGEST (I do know my place and would not for a moment think to direct the members to watch) that you take the 18 minutes and watch this short but powerful change of perspective on how we present ourselves to our customers and potential customers as we hawk our wares.

Simon Sinek starts off by asking what is it that great and inspiring leaders or companies have that makes us believe in them?  What is it about the way they think, act, and communicate that sets them apart and draws us toward them?  Sinek posits that we all know WHAT it is we do, some of us know HOW we do it, but only a few know WHY we do what we do. 

Simak constructs what he calls the "Golden Circle" to describe his thoughts;




His theory is that most of us think outside in, and the great and inspiring do the opposite, think inside out.  He uses Apple as his example.  If Apple marketed in the traditional way, outside in, it might sound like this:

What? We make great computers.

How? They are beautiful, simply designed, and user friendly.

Why?  Want to buy one?

Simak points out that Apple does not market that way they market inside out.

Why? With everything we do we believe in thinking differently, we challenge the status quo.

How? The way we challenge the status quo is to make beautiful, simple, user friendly products.                   

What? We happen to make great computers, want to buy one?

He goes on to explain and tie this thought, PEOPLE DON'T BUY WHAT WE DO, THEY BUY WHY WE DO IT,  to biology and how our brains work but I will leave that to you to hear for your selves.  But the take away for me is the relatively simple thought that people will buy or want to connect when they believe what you believe or want to believe what you believe. 

For us at the builders association it is not to first market our member benefits or networking opportunities or our legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts, outside in.  It is presenting our core values and beliefs to members, potential members, and homeowners of York, inside out.  And what are our core values and beliefs?  Well you will have to stay tuned to find that out, after your elected Directors meet in June at the annual Leadership Retreat to have that conversation.

Until then, watch the TED and take a look at your own Golden Circle and how you might be presenting your message.

A protege  of Simon Sinek, David Mead, WILL be speaking at the
Association Leadership Institute in August.  

Here’s a link to more information about David.

Association Leadership Institute General Session Start With Why

Speakers: David Mead

Date: 8/16/2013 3:45 PM - 5:00 PM 

Why are some organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike?

Learning Outcomes

It doesn't matter what you do, it matters why you do it

How to be open to new ideas and look at old ideas through a new lens

Understand that employees are the backbone of any business and the key to success

Why some organizations are more innovative, more profitable, command greater loyalties from customers and employees alike and are able to repeat their success over and over (and how you can, too)


Mary V. Danielsen said...

Great post, Jim and Mike.

I think I'm going to make this required reading before I sit down to write my blog posts and before every business presentation. We must exhale the passion of why we do what we do.

Laurie Lourie said...

Well said Jim and Mike. I have to say I honestly watched that video 3 times and probably should watch it monthly. It just really gets you to think and then suddenly the light bulb goes off. Having a passion for what you do can be very contagious. Not always easy but always the best option. 5 stars!!

Michael Kurpiel said...

Mary and Laurie,

I will take credit for preparing the blog, the content was all Jim :)

But we are both glad you enjoyed!