Getting to Why

To move people, describing what your product or service does, or how it does it, is not enough. You have to get to why it matters. We recently helped a drug company organize their first national sales meeting to launch a new drug to treat ADHD. Among the many creative elements we needed to develop (e.g. speeches, videos, PowerPoint templates), first and foremost was a theme for the event.

Now we’re all familiar with the typical rah-rah sales meeting themes designed to incent salesreps to “Go Beyond” or “Reach For The Stars.” And certainly one goal of any sales meeting is to energize and inspire attendees to make a dent in the marketplace. But finding a message that is specific to the products or services to be sold, and to the mission of the company, demands more than clichés. To be real, it needs to speak to what’s in it for the customer, for the salesrep, and for the company.

One of the best places to start is with a personal story. We asked the CEO why this drug mattered. He explained its unique features and the existing market gaps it filled. Then we asked him why it mattered to him. He told us that his teenage children had close friends struggling with ADHD. He knew those kids well, and saw first-hand their daily battle for stability, focus and acceptance. He knew the toll the illness took on their families as well. He believed this new drug could make their daily lives better.

That promise resonated with the drug’s essential action: a time-release formula that better balanced the child’s experience every day. And together, the company and its reps could bring this better day to the ADHD community, and in so doing create a bright future for themselves as well.

“Building a Better Day.” Not just another sales cheer, but an aspirational statement that asserts the goal for the salesreps, the opportunity for ADHD sufferers, the mission of the company and the nature of the drug. It all starts with a story that tells us why, not simply what or how.