They were a distant third behind Reebok and Adidas and their profits were nosediving – they were even being sued by The Beatles. They needed to do something.
Back then, Nike was the running geek’s brand of choice. They made hi-tech shoes for elite athletes – that is what they did. So, they based their new TV ad around that.
The advert was aimed firmly at their traditional audience. Scott Bedbury had just joined Nike as Ad Director. He remembers seeing the ad for the first time: “You never saw a human being in the entire 60 seconds, just rain splattering on the track. Over it all a voice of God says: ‘It all started here, the fitness revolution that changed America’. It was Nike regaling at its past, speaking only to its devotees and to itself”.
Bedbury canned the ad and briefed their agency to find an alternative message.
What they came up with was three words that transformed Nike’s image from a narrow shoe brand for running obsessives to a lifestyle choice for all of America and eventually the world. ‘Just Do It’ turned Nike from an $800m company in 1988 to a $9bn company in 1998.
Nike’s transformation is a perfect example of what Simon Sinek calls the ‘importance of why’. He says that while most companies concentrate on talking about what they do, the best companies concentrate on talking about why they do it. Prior to 1987, Nike’s marketing had concentrated on what they did – produce technical sports shoes for athletes. However, the ‘Just Do It’ campaign saw Nike switch to a focus on why they existed – to help motivate anyone that needs to do anything. They had stopped talking about themselves and started talking about the customer.
Concentrating on the ‘why’ taps into a primeval facet of human behaviour – we are overwhelmingly driven by our feelings and emotions not by our conscious thoughts. As Sinek says “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”.
Most of us tend to concentrate on the ‘what’. We talk at length about what we do and the various features of our products. Just like Nike in 1987. However, the best salespeople lead with ‘why’. Teaching the client why you and your brand are in their lives, allows the client to feel comfortable with working with you. Explaining why you are delivering a certain recommendation above another will give a rationale your client can take to sell-on to other stakeholders. Focusing on why allows your client to trust you.
Make the same switch that Nike made in 1987, think about The Why of your brand, The Why of your product, The Why of your solution, The Why of you as a salesperson. Go on, Just Do It.
To keep up-to-date with everything Flume finds interesting, go to Flume’s LinkedIn company page.
What is the future of sales development, and what sales lessons can we carry forward? Our new whitepaper looks at how you can drive learner performance and looks at what you should expect from your sales training company.
Flume Sales Training is committed to working with our clients in the long term. All our training is measured and accountable to ensure it drives real sales impact.
Don’t just take our word for it.
“Within a month of working with Flume, our sales team had developed over £500K of additional revenue. With such high impact we plan to involve them across the entire organisation.”
Scott Lutter, Head of Sales, Leyton UK
Do ONE crucial thing to boost your 2023 sales success
28th March 2023
Join Flume Live for an introduction to sales velocity – crucial hacks to power your pipeline
23rd March 2023
Selling in a tough climate – 5 key takeaways
14th March 2023
The sales funnel is dead. Long live the sales ‘nail’!
7th March 2023
Preboarding | Onboarding | Everboarding
13th February 2023
Selling in a tough climate – the challenges
31st January 2023
Sales 2023 : Three big questions
30th January 2023
Flume’s trends and predictions for the events industry
30th January 2023
5 Steps to Power your 2023 Pipeline
14th December 2022
5 Key recession-busting sales behaviours
13th December 2022
Sales Innovation Expo 2022 Trends
30th November 2022
How to align your customer success team with your sales process
2nd November 2022
Sales velocity: How to increase average order value in sales
17th October 2022
Sales velocity: Increasing the number of sales opportunities
17th October 2022
28 Sales Acronyms used daily
8th September 2022
Sales velocity: Speeding up the decision-making process
24th August 2022
Sales velocity: How to improve conversion rates
13th July 2022
Sales kick-off meetings: How to use the momentum to power long-term change
17th May 2022
Drive retention and performance through a sales academy
9th March 2022
Call AI: The sales coaching technology you need in 2022
22nd February 2022
Drive real results from sales training in 2022: Why the traditional model doesn’t work
2nd February 2022
Sales Engagement Summit – Hosted by Raoul
16th December 2021
How business development reps can give buyers the confidence to say yes
3rd December 2021
The biggest mistake sales development reps make (and three things you should do instead)
9th November 2021
Five myths you need to know about customer success teams
11th October 2021
The four levers you can pull to increase sales velocity and how to make an impact
1st September 2021
Outcome Based Selling
3rd August 2021
Why most sales training doesn’t work and what to do about it
1st July 2021
3 reasons why writing a proper proposal is worth your time
18th March 2021
How to win a sales pitch…
26th February 2021
Sales Professionals: Why you shouldn’t assume you’ve got remote selling nailed
15th January 2021
Is your sales team ready for 2021?
4th January 2021
Selling Virtual Events
26th November 2020
Why salespeople must be ‘long-term greedy’: A five-step approach to winning more sales
13th November 2020
Closing skills: Why the pandemic has made it even harder to close that deal and what to do about it.
1st November 2020
Post Covid: How to fill your B2B pipeline with customers who do want to speak to you?
5th October 2020
3 steps for monetising virtual events
15th July 2020
18th May 2020
5 tips for closing in the crisis
4th May 2020
Using audience insights to engage with customers
20th April 2020
Biggest challenge of leading a remote sales team
15th April 2020
“Clients don’t want to engage with me”
6th April 2020
The world has changed – what should I sell?
31st March 2020
Leading remote sales teams
30th March 2020
Selling in a crisis
25th March 2020
Proposal writing research: Why your proposal doesn’t work
17th March 2020
How to accelerate your sponsorship revenue
17th February 2020
How selling to the individual increases your chance of them buying by 2x
7th February 2020
New Year, new rules. How to deliver sales training that actually works!
2nd January 2020
Half of B2B sales people will miss their 2020 targets. It’s time to shift perspective.
18th November 2019
Questions that drive more sales
15th November 2019
How to speed up prospect decision making… PART TWO
21st October 2019
How to speed up prospect decision making – PART ONE
14th October 2019
The biggest mistake salespeople make… and how to avoid it
26th July 2019
You have the right to demand more ROI from your sales training (and here’s how you get it)
16th May 2019
How to grow customer accounts this year
22nd March 2019
5 big sales mistakes from this year
23rd December 2018
How to turn the marketing trust crisis into sales opportunity
5th October 2018
Why is it so hard to find great business development talent?
21st September 2018
It might be hot outside but you still need a SCARF.
12th July 2018
The Peter Principle: Great Salesperson, Crap Manager
25th June 2018
The ‘great deal graveyard’ and how to avoid it
8th June 2018
The secret to selling in today’s market: Old-school to New-school
22nd March 2018
Why people DON’T buy from people they like
28th February 2018
What salespeople can learn from Nike
5th February 2018
Why “yes” doesn’t mean YES
26th January 2018
Take charge of your sales career in 2022
15th January 2018
How sales and marketing must work together to deliver results: tips from the front line of B2B selling
20th July 2016
6 facts and stats B2B sales people cannot ignore
26th May 2016
The amazing power of stories and 5 ways to make them sell
15th October 2015
The trouble with Blitz Days and how to increase their effectiveness
7th October 2015