The Simple Formula For Getting Clear on Your Message

start-with-whyIn his book “Start With Why,”
author Simon Sinek makes the point that there are 3 things you should know about your business:

  1. What you do;
  2. How you do it; and
  3. Why you do it

He feels that “why you do it” should be first on your list and what you lead with in your marketing. However, a large portion of business owners don’t even know their why. In watching travel agencies market their businesses, I agree. When you don’t know your “why” you lack inspiration and your message falls on deaf ears. I believe one of the biggest mistakes travel sellers make is leading with the “How.”

For example, if you tell people that you are a cruise specialist, you are leading with your “How.” The products you sell are HOW you deliver your service. But they are NOT your WHAT.

“What you do” is the solution you deliver. In other words, you might be a cruise specialist but what you do is design seamless and memorable travel experiences at sea where your clients feel more pampered and cared for than ever before in their lives. Thus, “what you do” is the solution or dream you deliver. “How you do it” comes from the products you choose to sell.

Of course you need to know how you do your job. Its important to have extensive knowledge of the products you sell. However, your prospects don’t need to know this. When it comes to marketing, you can drop the “how” and speak to the what, why and who.

So once you have nailed the “what” piece, it’s time to move on to “why.” Do you share “why” in your message or marketing? I often get a “no” to this question, and yet sharing your “why” is one of the best ways to make your message magnetic. Getting clear on your “why” is how you make the shift from getting (clients, bookings, commissions, business) to giving of your brilliance so you can make a difference. Being in touch with your “why” is how you feed your business daily with inspiration and meaning.

Getting clear on your why often starts with tapping into your passion. If you are in the business of selling travel, it’s a safe assumption that travel is one of your passions. But why? What does travel do for you that it can do for your clients? What lessons has travel taught you?

Your “why” may come from a different source. Perhaps your why came from a difficult experience you overcame. For example, maybe you grew up with special needs and people telling you all your life that you were limited. Through years of this, you developed an internal muscle to figure out how to do something when they told you that you could not. Today, you plan travel so you can help families who have a family member with special needs take seamless vacations and not be kept home by their limitations. This is a beautiful and powerful why. What’s yours?

The last piece of getting clear on your message is identifying your “who.” In other words, who needs you most. As in the example above, the answer is easy – families with a special needs child, parent or grandparent.


Figure out if you have been mistakenly leading with your “How.” If your message does not contain the solutions you provide, why you provide them, and who you provide them for, it’s time to work on it. Getting clear on your message is the most important piece of the puzzle and will help all the other pieces fall into place.

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