“People don’t buy what you do. They buy WHY you do it.”
This quote from Simon Sinek has fundamentally changed the way I look at the world and the way I do business. If you have not seen the video of his presentation on Ted.com, then I recommend you do it right now. As in, right now. Don’t wait. See you in 18 minutes.
So what is your Why? Why do YOU get out of bed in the morning? I believe that for most of us, we got into this business because we were moved by it. I’ve heard some of these great stories from fellow custom integrators (feel free to share yours in the comment sections below). And for most of us, the reason we’re here today wasn’t because we wanted to be rich. It was because some experience moved us and we wanted to recreate that experience for others.
So why isn’t that what we sell? Why have we become TV pushers and price matchers (now before you get all angry at me, I know that this isn’t everyone; I know some of you out there have cracked the code). But as an industry as a whole, we are not approaching this from the right angle.
What is someone more likely to buy?
“A large 240hz 1080p smart TV with matching Blu-ray player and 5.1 surround system with a remote programmed with macros…”
“A movie-like experience so simple to use that with the touch of one button the lights dim as the TV turns on and the movie begins to play?”
People are willing to pay more for solutions—solutions that work. People want an experience that is easy. We, who are so driven by our knowledge, tend to over-complicate, because sometimes we know too much for our own good.
As an industry we need to embrace the idea that, “People buy WHY you do it.” We need to stop selling products and start selling solutions. We need to start a revolution. There is much power in the numbers of CIs in our field. Together we can be a strong, unstoppable force. If the client needs a TV, then let them go to Walmart. If a client wants a system that works with wires that you cannot see, magic boxes that bring your pictures, movies, and memories right to your TV screen, then they should visit a custom integrator. Give us your technology challenged, your solution-hungered, and your poor wife who can’t work what you have now.
I am talking passion. We do (or at least did) this because we loved it. Remember the first time you got goosebumps during a CEDIA audio demo? Or that movie that choked you up because you became so lost in the moment? This is our history. Where movies came from… As silent films, created to escape life. Today, just as much as ever, we crave that escape. Work no longer ends at 5 p.m. You can no longer “leave” the office. So when you finally do get to sit down and watch a movie or listen to music, most of us are looking for an escape from reality. This is what people will buy. This is our WHY.
I believe people want to be moved. If they don’t watch movies, then maybe they want great music at their fingertips. Or maybe it is just the simplicity of control. For mom, it could be access to the weather before she gets the kids ready for school. Dad might prefer the easy ability to listen to traffic while he pours his morning cup of coffee.
We need to come together and create a common WHY. The time is now, in an age of lowest price, internet shopping, and fly-by-nights. Let’s start the revolution and that begins by asking the question, Why?
Heather L. Sidorowicz is project manager/designer for Southtown Audio Video in Hamburg, NY.