You Only Have 20 Seconds So Lead With ‘Why’


We’re delegated down to those we sound like and we only have 20-40 seconds to create the right impression and hook an individual or audience when we engage. This is especially true in an age of social media, sound bites and executive ADD. The very best sales leaders focus on ‘why’ and ‘when’ because these define relevance and urgency. The ‘what’ and ‘how’ are mere detail yet most sales people lead with what their company does, how they do it and then dump facts that they think provide credibility… this is a HUGE mistake if you’re seeking to engage at the right senior levels.

By focusing on ‘why’ and ‘when’ we overcome the worst of competitors (‘do nothing’ or client apathy) while assisting in the creation of a strong business case for purchase and implementation. Talk the language of leadership which is ‘business outcomes’ and ‘managing risk’. Here is the most important question to ask yourself to plan for a meeting or in formulating value strategy: What is the business problem we solve for clients and why is it important? Then ask yourself: How do we create compelling business case value and manage their risk better than the competition, including their internal options? Finally, how can I lead with insight to earn the conversation and what questions set me apart in leading to the unique value I offer?

The way we sell is more important than what we sell. Become masterful at opening rather than closing. The way we open a sales call or business relationship, and our ability to set the right agenda, is critically important.


Tony Hughes is ranked as the #1 influencer on professional selling in Asia-Pacific and is a keynote speaker and best selling author. This article was originally published in LinkedIn where you can also follow Tony’s award winning blog. Also visit Tony’s keynote speaker website at or his sales methodology website at

Main image photo by Flickr: Paxson Woelber


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Tony is ranked the #1 influencer on professional selling by Top Sales World Magazine and is a best selling author and international keynote speaker. He helps business-to-business (B2B) sales teams modernise the way they sell by 'leading with why' and then embracing social media platforms such as LinkedIn to build strong personal brands capable of creating pipeline and setting an agenda of insight and value. Tony seeks to elevate leadership and professional selling for a Better Business World and has over 60,000 followers of his award winning blog within LinkedIn ( Tony's methodologies for creating sales pipeline and managing complex enterprise opportunities have deliver hundreds of millions of revenue for his clients who include Oracle, Orange Business Services, BOC Gases, Nufarm, Peer 1, and many others. Whether your revenue issues stem from strategy or execution, process or methodology, skills or discipline; Tony can help enable the transformation of sales people and results with a modernised approach to creating pipeline and managing the complex sale.

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