Why People Buy


Have you seen the TED Talk from Simon Sinek on why people buy? It’s an insightful call to evaluate and communicate the core beliefs that motivate you to do what you do. That’s right, the beliefs that motivate you to do what you do are the key to motivating people to buy what you do.

In his presentation, Simon talks about the difference between how truly inspired leaders and companies communicate versus the rest of us. He says, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy based on why you do it.”  You see, most of us communicate from the outside in. We start with WHAT we do, then maybe progress to HOW we do it, and most of the time we never get to the WHY.

For example, “We make computers [what]. We make them fast and sleek and user-friendly [how].” But the truly inspiring companies communicate their beliefs and values—their WHY first. For example, Apple might say, “We believe in thinking outside the box, in breaking tradition [that’s their why], and that’s why we make things sleeker, faster, and more user-friendly than anyone else [their how] and oh, by the way, we sell computers [their what].”

I’m sure you’ve heard that it’s always better to sell benefits rather than features. In the example above, the features are the how: “Our computers are sleek, fast, and user-friendly.” Not bad… but it would be much stronger to lead with sharing the benefits of buying our computer. For example, “If you buy our computers you’ll have more time to do the things you love,” or “Our computers will give you an edge over your  competition.” This is better copy because now you’re selling benefits, not just features.

What I learned in this video is the importance of communicating your WHY. Now if your WHY is simply to make money, I’m afraid you’ll be better off just selling the benefits of your product. But when your WHY is based on a belief or a value that resonates with your audience, you will be most effective if you communicate your WHY first, and your benefits second.

For example, “We believe in bringing people together because communication is the key to living in peace and harmony.” If this is your WHY, then lead with that. People who relate to and identify with your WHY will be more motivated and more strongly moved to buy than if they are simply attracted to your benefits, or to an even lesser extent, just want the features your product or service offers.

So in telling your story—in promoting your message, product, or service—take time to consider your WHY. Evaluate the core beliefs that motivate you to do what you do. If people connect with your WHY, then they will be more likely to respond.

Need help in discovering and sharing your WHY? Contact us today.

Photo credit: GotCredit via Visual hunt / CC BY

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