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Selling the sizzle - not the sausage!

"Selling the sizzle, not the sausage" is a phrase in selling that has been around for decades. We know humans are overall driven by 70% emotion when committing to a product or service. It does not matter what field of sales or business you are in, the concept applies.


What does sell the sizzle, not the sausage mean?

People don't buy products, they buy benefits! A recent situation where I found this relevant was in buying and selling property. My wife and I ultimately decided to go with a real estate agent who demonstrated the principle well, by identifying the emotional drivers of the client. His fees in both listing and sales commissions were slightly higher than his competition. But he gave absolute confidence, alignment and connection with the seller. His competitors offered to wave listing fees, drop commissions etc to counter however they were simply too focused on the product rather than the underlying drivers and emotions.

People don't buy products, they buy benefits!

Then the process as the buyer commenced where we encountered a great example of another missed opportunity by focusing on the product being the property and not the benefits (sizzle).

We found a property and attended three inspections. The first one we booked, the real estate salesperson forgot to show up or communicate to us that a few days prior they had another buyers offer accepted.

Two weeks later, the offer fell over and we reached out and attended an open home. The home was listed as 'considering all offers'. We had cash in bank ready to go. We even did title and property searches prior to the open home and the real estate agent was aware of this - a strong indicator that a potential buyer was motivated.

An offer was placed at a starting point, where we were prepared to lift. We attended the second open home the following day, where only one other person showed up to view. I asked the real estate salesperson “did you receive our formal offer last night?”.

Real estate agent - my apologies, I may have misguided you as the seller had an original offer a month ago for $250K above your offer

Buyer - what happened to that offer?

Real estate agent - It fell over due to finance.

Buyer - Ok, so we are comparing with an offer that is not there anymore.

Real estate agent - Yes?

Buyer - So, what do you suggest?

Real estate agent - You need to lift your offer to around that.

Buyer - Ok, let us think about it and come back to you.

In summary, there were engaged potential buyers who had done their homework, had attended more than one open home, finance ready, had already sold their property, and were open to lifting the offer.

As buyers, we then started thinking more about the negatives of the property and moved on to others. In the end, we purchased another home at a higher value, with an agent who was able to engage us more emotionally with benefits.

Going back to the previous property, I feel the agent could have directed us with ease by asking "what do you like about this property? You have been here a few times and have done your homework."

This one question would have led to the underlying emotional reason to purchase. Often referred to as "under the iceberg".

So the lesson is - yes, buyers look at the facts of the product or service without doubt, but ensure that you recognise and address the emotional drivers and benefits, no matter what you sell!

“Sell the sizzle, not the sausage”

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