Do you sell the sizzle, not the steak?

Last updated by TiagoAraujo over 8 years ago.See history

'Selling the sizzle, not the steak" - the benefits, not the features - is a basic selling principle that's been around for thousands of years. We all know that people buy a 1/4-inch drill so that they can make a 1/4-inch hole. But I'm always amazed at how many businesses, large and small, keep on plugging the features of their product or service, and omit the benefits to the user.

  • Engineers list the technical specs
  • Lawyers list all of the services they offer
  • Software houses plug the bells and whistles of version 6.3
  • Airlines describe their full destination lists
  • ...and so on. Look at any six adverts in a business magazine, and I'll bet that at least three fall into this trap

A good example of a benefit is shown in this Colgate toothpaste slogan; "Your teeth will be whiter so you can smile with confidence."

Of course, features do need to be described. That's one way of convincing prospects that you can deliver the benefits that prospective customers want. However, if you concentrate only on the features, the prospect may well yawn and say "So what?" Is your business guilty as charged? Here are 3 ways to check:

  • Look closely at your sales literature - including sales letters that you write. How many times are features described without stating the benefits of that feature?
  • Check your sales peoples' reports (verbal as well as written). How many times do they state what features the prospect wants rather than the real needs of the prospect, the benefits that s/he is looking for?
  • When you are in a sales situation, just listen to yourself. Are you so carried away with the excellent features of your product or service that you are not taking the trouble to find out what the prospect really wants?
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