Today we are joined by Gerry O’Brion. After years as an executive with billion-dollar brands, Gerry is now a professional speaker and author. His Power of BECAUSE framework of has helped tens of thousands of CEOs, business owners and sales teams stand out from the sea of sameness and grow their sales.
Gerry began his career in marketing at Procter & Gamble and then was an executive for Coors Light, Quiznos, and Red Robin. He has his MBA from the University of Michigan. Gerry also spent 8 years serving in the military.
The genesis of Gerry’s work, and ultimately his Framework of Influence, started when he worked for large-company marketing divisions and discovered that even the top executives didn’t know why customers picked one competitor over another. In cluttered, noisy, competitive situations this was a big surprise, and answering this question became his mission.
The Because Framework
Economists have been saying for years that humans are rational beings, that we make logical, rational buying decisions. But in 2002, Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman and his colleagues proved that in fact we make most decisions emotionally, and then later our brains work to rationalize those emotional decisions. We are looking for the proof to explain to someone else why we made the decisions we do. Therefore, proof is required in the sentence structure of the Because Framework.
Gerry breaks down the framework into four parts, and challenges us to have some deep conversations and brainstorming in these areas:
- Who are your IDEAL CUSTOMERS? Find a way to answer this question as specifically as possible. A narrow definition is better. The clearer we can be with this the faster we grow. For example, rather than, “I’m a financial advisor,” consider “I’m a financial advisor, but I only work with a very small number of specific types of client.” This statement generates a completely different response. All buyers want to work with specialists who deal primarily with individuals just like them. Business leaders are often hesitant to take the ‘leap of faith’ to narrow their target market and, in fact, say no to some. If you look closely, you will likely find that those customers that don’t ‘fit’ are less profitable and time-consuming and if they could be replaced with customers that fit better your business would be stronger.
- What are your INSIGHTS? What does your ideal customer hope for if they buy your product or service, and what do they fear? Prospect theory tells us that people are more motivated by fear of loss than the opportunity for gain. Discovering the fears your customers and prospects have isn’t easy. Gerry described that in his time with Proctor & Gamble, they would interview customers for one, two, and sometimes even four hours with probing questions to dig deep for insights. If done well, this investigation can identify many innovations.Gerry gave the example of car buying. Many people fear buying a car from a dealership – the risk of paying too much, buying the wrong vehicle and having to deal with multiple people at the dealership. Through an investigation into customer fears, the dealership Schomp was able to address these fears with a One Price, One Person, One Hour brand promise, and grew quickly as a result.
- What’s the buyer’s OUTCOME? There’s been a lot of hype recently around the Start With Why approach espoused by Simon Sinek. Gerry argues that great for motivating employees, but for buyers, we must start with the ‘what’ question. Specifically, buyers need to know “What’s in it for me?” to buy from you versus your competitor. As the old saying goes: no one wants to buy a drill bit, they want to buy a hole in something. At the time of purchase, it’s less relevant why the drill bit company exists.
- What’s the BECAUSE? In this final element, our buyers need to have the ‘what’ question supplemented by some type of proof. As mentioned, our brains are always looking to finish the ‘because’ phrase with rational, logical, proof. If we can give that to them, buyers will buy from us more readily. The ‘because’ answer must be both differentiated and valuable to buyers. If all competitors are saying the same thing, then we are just confusing them. Saying, “… because we are the best price,” is typical and doesn’t help, but saying “… because we specialize by only having one price, one person, one-hour promise,” then your buyer is much more motivated.
Gerry emphasized that this 4-element approach works in any industry and it doesn’t matter if you are selling a product or a service.
Take Your Business to the Next Level
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Each episode of Unleashed is hosted by Results’ CEO Jeff Tetz who spends most of his life deeply caring for others, exploring what makes high performers tick, and helping people unleash their full potential. You’ll find Jeff HERE on Twitter.