Ashley Friedlein of Econsultancy just turned us on to this excellent TED Talk (TED is a fantastic series on ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’). It’s by Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why, and it’s all about the power of beliefs in marketing. Great leaders and great companies start with beliefs not facts, policies, products or services. He cites Apple, Martin Luther King and the Wright brothers among others but the idea is just as powerful for any company and any B2B marketer.
The essence of Simon’s talk: People don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it.
He bases this on brain research that shows that the neocortex, which is responsible for our rational processes (and language) is not the part of the brain that drives decisions. Decisions (and feelings) are controlled by the limbic system. In other words, when we throw features and functions at people, we can’t change their behaviour. But when we start with beliefs, we talk directly to the part of the brain that drives decisions and behaviour. Then people can rationalise their feelings of trust and loyalty with the feature/function stuff.
For Velocity, this plays right into our own belief that B2B buyers are human beings first and engineers or IT Directors second. People buy from people they like and trust. Our first job on behalf of our clients is to earn that trust by communicating the client’s beliefs and passions.
That’s why something that might seem a bit silly (like a stop-motion Lego Man film for a vertical search product) does so much to bring prospects closer and pave the way to a sale. Or why a pair of hugging salt & pepper shakers can boost registration to an exclusive conference.
Do you really know what your company believes?
You know WHAT you do but do you know WHY you do it?
Are you sharing those beliefs with your customers and prospects?
How are you explicitly communicating your beliefs and how are you demonstrating them?
If Simon Sinek is right (and we think he is), these could be the most important questions of your career..