Answering the “Why” Question

At least one astute reader asked the question…”Why?”  after he read my post on Simon Sinek’s video, Starting with the Why (click to view it) yesterday.   I would hope more people are asking, “Why to I do what I do?” – it makes all the difference.

This reader writes me with the question, “Okay, so why do I sell security solutions?”  From Simon’s point of view, if we don’t ask the question “Why”? we are never going to see real success. He points to companies like Apple, and people like the Wright Brothers and Martin Luther King, to show that these people and organizations have more than a product; they are selling what they believe in.  In other words, they are selling their passion.  So how do you answer the question?


What is The Why Question We Should Be Asking?

When I first read the question, “Why do I sell security?” I started thinking of some good answers…but now,  I think it’s the wrong question to be asking.

When Simon kicks off his 18 minute video, he doesn’t ask, why does Apple sell computers.  He talks about doing things differently – that is what Apple believes in. The “WHY?” question answers why you exist, not why do you sell what you sell – it asks “What is your organization’s purpose or passion?” (and the purpose isn’t profit – that is simply the result of doing what you do, according to Simon)?  In his Apple example he states, “In everything we do, we challenge the status-quo, we think differently”. Apple does this by making simple, user-friendly, beautiful products – this is the HOW, the second question that must be answered.  Then comes the WHAT – “We make computers”.  Security is the product…the WHY question has more to do with WHY you exist…not WHAT you make.



So how does this translate into the reseller’s business – how is the reader’s question answered according to Simon?  Well, I am not Simon, but I have listened to his video more than once and have put some serious thought into my own business, as I think through what he is saying.  I have a passion, a belief system, and a people group I am working to serve.  I focus on helping people with entrepreneurial exuberance get somewhere with their business.  I love to see people create something out of nothing, or build a business where others have failed.  The business owner, the sales person, the inventor – these are my people group. Some are students who I encourage to take a new route to business – I encourage them to avoid the status quo route so many people take, landing them in some J.O.B.; one I know they will grow to hate after doing it for 40 years, every day, all day.  I work with the student and the sales person  – I believe they have gifts and talents to give which can be used to do something fantastic.  The business owner is the same. This person has stepped out in faith, believing they can do it – they can be one of the 4% who will actually stay in business over 10 years.  They are risk takers and embrace the freedom and responsibility that comes with owning and running a business, or living on a highly leveraged compensation plan that promises a reward to those who make it.

In Apple’s case, the HOW comes through the simple, easy-to-use product.  Mine comes through developing great messaging, sales and speaking skills, and consulting that can  truly transform a business.  I believe there is a better way than the average sales methodology.  The people my clients serve need help, and my clients have a way to help them – they just need a way to articulate their value clearly.

The WHAT with Apple is the computer – they make and sell computers – great computers I might add.  I have the desktop, a notebook, and the phone…I’m a fan.  My WHAT comes through my coaching, my teaching, and my speaking and writing.  I am a communicator of truth, using whatever skills I have, or can build, to reach my people group with my passion for their success. To equip them to succeed.

So my reader with his security practice, who happens to be an entrepreneur – someone with a passion for his client, has something to give.  He’s passionate  – but security is still his WHAT.  He has a people group, which I have heard him speak about.  It’s the business owners of the SMB market he serves…he should be looking at his people group and asking, “Why do I love serving these people – what am I passionate about that will help them?”  If it’s just about security products, he won’t succeed – but if he has a vision involving their success, then he has something; something he believes in.  Now, how will he do it – he believes they need help keeping their systems up and running, safe from security threats, and performing every day of the year to enable their business.  He believes this can be done better by a central program, that offloads the responsibility of daily maintenance and oversight from those working in that company he serves. My read has put together a unique offering that happens to be security focused.  Why?  Because he saw this as a way to carry out his passion.  It may change one day, but if he really embraces his passion, and his people group, he will likely still be doing something for those he calls on today – just replacing the “WHAT”.

© 2012, David Stelzl


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