It’s not what you do, but why you do it that counts

Bafta main doorYesterday I had a wonderful lunch at my club Bafta in Piccadilly with a great friend of mine, Lena Robinson.

Lena is one of the most gifted business development professionals I’ve ever worked with when we were together at WPP and she now runs an incredible business development powerhouse for agency entrepreneurs called KiwiGirl.

Check it out!  Lena is an inspiration of ideas and new ways of thinking. And yesterday she shared something very special that I wanted to share with you too.

But before I share this with you, let me take you briefly into the conversation we started with over sausages, crab bites, burger and chips and a very nice bottle of wine!

We talked about Guru in a Bottle® and what inspired me to write a series of books on sales, marketing and law. I explained that actually my motivation for doing so was very simple.  I believe with a passion that many people who have one year’s experience or less in sales, marketing and law are terrified and confused about the impact that laws and regulations have on sales and marketing practice and they just don’t get it.

And yet such a knowledge gap could be lag on their progression so early into their careers in sales and marketing.

jump 4 joyAnd it doesn’t have to be this way.

So I wanted to do something about this. I was motivated to remove that fear by taking a complex subject like law and make it human. I wanted to use humour and a cartoon character that would speak to them in colloquial language, in a friendly way and be their “guru”. I wanted to make learning the law fun!

Yes, really. Otherwise it’s bloody boring and real slog, isn’t it?

I wanted to write not just one book, but three. I wanted to share with those with one year’s experience or less what I believed about sales, marketing and the law and do this by entertaining, informing and engaging.

At that stage I didn’t have a website or even a Facebook Page.

Today, I continue to entertain, inform and engage about sales, marketing and the law through the Guru in a Bottle web site and Facebook page that now has over 32,000 LIKES achieved in under a year. I’m really proud that everyone I come into contact with and who loves Guru in a Bottle loves what I have to share.  And I love their passion and I’m humbled that I have the opportunity to help influence their thinking.

But I also wanted to go further.

I wanted every reader and visitor to the website and the Facebook page to believe they had the innate ability to be good at this stuff.

Lena let me into a secret.

“People don’t buy what you do, but why you do it,” she explained.

Simon SinekLena then went on to tell me about a remarkable bloke called Simon Sinek.

He was someone who had inspired her and in fact she had a three hour dinner with him too!

So this morning I watched this incredible short but incisive video of what Simon had to say about this subject.  With over 17m views as one of the most watched TED Talks ever, you can guess many other people across the planet felt Simon had something important to share.  And I don’t mind if you stop reading this blog and watch Simon. It takes about 18 minutes in total. It’s well worth it. And then please come back!

So back to my lunch with Lena at Bafta.

What Lena explained was that so many agency heads and entrepreneurs in tech start-ups get it so wrong when it comes to business development. Lena should know. She was the top biz dev person in Vizeum. And I mean globally.

“The goal isn’t to sell to people what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe,” and Lena drew this diagram.


How what why

If you’ve watched the video of Simon, you’ll recognise this too.

One of the biggest mistakes that companies of all shapes and sizes make is to talk about what they do and how they do it, rather than why they do it. From a marketing perspective, this is wonky thinking.

In the Guru in a Bottle® cartoon series of books as well as on the web and Facebook sites I often discuss the need to have a strong focus on segmentation.  And that means not just demographic and psychographic information about “target customers” (I really hate using that term!) but about having a lens on attitudes, values, beliefs, perceptions and behaviours of desired customers, clients and supporters.

Look again at this scribble.

It’s clear that those that are more successful in sales and marketing and business development focus on connecting by sending messages to the limbic part of the brain where our emotions live and which controls our decision making process but doesn’t process language.

In other words, sales and marketing and biz dev is about harnessing the power of emotional intelligence – feelings and emotions – rather than being stuck outside of that ring of influence and only appealing to the rational part of the brain.

That isn’t good enough.

Wright BrothersSimon Sinek talks about why the Wright Brothers succeeded in achieving the first manned flight on 17 December 1903 compared with the vast resources and Harvard education of inventor and entrepreneur Samuel Pierpoint Langley.

The Wright Brothers lacked the college education and money that their rival possessed. “They had a cause whereas Pierpoint Langley worked for a pay check,” explains Simon Sinek in the video.

Those who lead inspire us. And it’s not because we have to follow them. It’s because we want to.

Once the Wright Brothers succeeded where Pierpoint Langley had failed, their competitor simply quit and moved into something else rather than trying to build on the experience and produce an even better flying machine.

Dr Martin Luther KingPeople showed up to hear Dr Martin Luther King give a speech.

“They showed up not because of Dr King but for what they believed. Dr King gave the ‘I have a dream’ speech not the ‘I have a plan’ speech,” observes Simon Sinek.

And when you put it like that, you know it makes sense.

What you buy shows the proof of what you believe. And this applies to any product or service you may be in the business of selling or marketing. And that’s where we left lunch.  And I left Bafta with a new spring in my step.  Thanks so much for sharing, Lena.


Leave a reply