Sell the sizzle, not the sausage – Steve Clarke

by | Aug 27, 2015 | Business, Featured Slider, Features

Steve Clarke explains that your customers don’t just care about the size of your widgets

My wife and I are about to take on a great project and build our own place, meaning country living half mile down a rough road. We have one grandchild with a second on the way. And then of course there’s Trevor, our dog. All this was pointing towards 4×4 – a Chelsea tractor, albeit with the justification of actually living in the country.

We whittled the list down to the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, an amazing hybrid that does 149 miles to the gallon; the Kia Sportage with its famous seven year warranty and the Ranger Rover Evoque, which is just sexy.

How do you position your business – your products and services? If you were a car what kind of car would you be?

So the showroom visits began. Mitsubishi hung their hat on being eco-friendly. No questions about what we were looking for or why, just boasting about the PHEV’s efficiency and ramming endless specifications down our throats. All sausage, no sizzle. It was the most economical 4×4 on the market but it was butt-ugly inside and that gave us the excuse to walk away. Incidentally, there was no follow up whatsoever from the garage after our visit.

Steve Clarke

Kia got the model we wanted to test drive in for us specially. We were ready to buy when we arrived, as arranged a week earlier. The salesman greeted us then proceeded to leave us standing in the showroom like lemons while he got the keys. We went outside where I spotted a car of the same model and pointed out to my wife that it would be just like this one only without all the bird poo on the roof, bonnet and doors. And you’d be able to see through the glass as it wouldn’t be covered in dust.

I was wrong. Even with a week’s notice, he hadn’t thought to clean a car he wanted to sell for over £30,000. He didn’t ask a single question about what we wanted it for. In fact he didn’t even ask what we where currently driving. We didn’t walk away, we ran! No sizzle – no sausage.

Then came the Range Rover. Welcome Mr and Mrs Clarke, take a seat. Would you like a coffee or tea? The warm, friendly salesman started a conversation with us – note, a conversation not a presentation. What do you drive now? What are you looking for in your next car?

He sold the sizzle, not the sausage – how we’d feel driving it, how safe the grandchildren would be, how easily Trevor could get in and out, how great it would feel bumping along the track to our new house and how exciting it must be to be building a new home. What was the brake horsepower of the engine? I’ve no idea. He sold the sizzle not the sausage.

How do you treat customers and would-be customers? Are you selling the sizzle or the sausage – the features or the benefits? People buy benefits.

Make a list of all the features of your products and services and put an associated benefi t against each one. To turn a feature into a benefit, simply add the words ‘which means that…’ and complete the sentence – that’s the sizzle, that’s what you sell.

An exceptional sales mentor and sought after motivational business speaker who built his last UK business to £30m in annual sales in just eight years, Steve Clarke sold out and retired at 45. Now he helps businesses around the world generate more leads, more sales and more profits.

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