Why your WHY is important

Posted on February 17, 2015 by Nikki Lane

It’s so easy to say what we do, isn’t it? Or how we do it. But the WHY part can be elusive.

Guest blog by Philippa Lowe, Just Go Write

It’s so easy to say what we do, isn’t it? Or how we do it. For example, what I do: write great copy, deliver insightful training and workshops so other businesspeople can develop their own why and communicate it clearly. How I do it: by getting inside people’s heads and businesses, finding their stories and using words to showcase their talents to others.

But the WHY part can be elusive. Personally, I do what I do because I don’t want another small business owner to lose their business passion, their mojo because they’ve never connected with their business purpose, and they’re completely bewildered by how to communicate it for profit.

Finding my why took some struggle. Businesses owners I work with often take refuge in their how and what because it’s easier. It’s easier to try and yell your features and benefits louder than the competition. It may make you throat sore, but it’s easier because you feel safe in what you’re yelling about.

Stripping bare your WHY takes courage. It involves – eek! – feelings. Let’s get into some brain science. There are a few parts to our brain, but here we need to focus on the outer section, called the Neocortex and the middle section, called the Limbic brain.

To really simply explain both sections; the Neocortex tells us What we do. It is also responsible for rational and analytical thoughts and language.  The Limbic sections tell us about our Feelings such as trust and loyalty.

But here’s the biggie: the limbic brain is where all our behaviour and decision making takes place, and it has no capacity for language. So if you’re listing all your features and benefits, yelling what you do really loud and why you do it – the limbic brain of your customer DOES NOT HEAR. It has no capacity for language. So how can your customer reach a decision about you?

In 99% of the cases, with the absence of a limbic (‘gut’, ‘intuition’) decision the neo-cortex will kick in and customers start making rational arguments about what to buy. They rationally compare features, benefits and prices. Yours and your competitors.

But if your customer makes a limbic decision on your WHY, then it’s safe to say you’ve a loyal customer for life (provided you don’t stuff up your customer service, your product is actually reputable etc.). There is a reason why Apple customers camp outside stores to be the first to get the new iPhone. Because their limbic brains are buying a WHY.

When they read your WHY, potential customers aren’t going to rationally decide, “I want them”. They are going to read it and think, “They understand me. They think like I do.”

And that is gold. Because you want to do business with people who believe what you believe.

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