Sell the sizzle – not the sausage… 

My wife was due a replacement car. We tried to be sensible – really we did.

Inspired by watching seemingly endless repeats of Grand Designs we’re about to take on a great project and build our own place.

 

This will mean not only country living, but living a half mile down a roughish road and dealing with a building site for quite some time. We have our second grand child on the way and need to be able to get them safely in and out of the car. And of course there’s trevor… our dog.

All this was pointing us towards a 4×4. A chelsea tractor – but with the vague justification of living in the country, muddy tracks to drive down, safety for the grand children… and of course – Trevor!

So – we tried to be sensible, we really did. We whittled down the list.

Mitsubishi – as they have an amazing hybrid. 149 miles to the gallon as it’s electric and diesel.

Kia – not exactly top of the line, but they do have a 4×4. They also have their famous 7 year warranty. KIA Sportage – pronounced “SportArrrrrrje” in the vain hope of making it sound sexy.

Ranger Rover Evoke – because it just is sexy (according to my wife).

How do you position your business – your products and services? If you were a car – what kind of car would you be and why? Porsche, Range Rover, Mitsubishi or Kia?

And so the showroom visits and test drives began. We sadly experienced the full spectrum of stereo typical sales people. Complete with ill fitting suits, loud ties, pointy and dirty shoes all wrapped up with cigarette breath. Lovely. (Not all of them, but we did encounter them and it actually made me cringe to think that these people are still employed in sales).

Mitsubishi – just hung their hat on being eco friendly. No questions about what we were looking for or why. Just boasting about the engine efficiency and ramming endless technical specs down our throats. All sausage no sizzle.

It was the right car to buy for all the “green” reasons the most economical 4x4x on the market. It was butt ugly inside and that gave us the excuse to walk away – oh and by the way – no follow up whatsoever from the garage after our visit. None.

Kia – They arranged to get the model we wanted to test dive in for us especially. It was the top of their range and we were ready to buy. We arrived for the test drive arranged a week earlier.

The salesman – (no let’s just call him the man), saw us. “Hello, I’ll get the keys and see you outside” and proceeded to leave us standing in the showroom like lemons. Or perhaps lepers more like.

We went outside where I spotted a car of the same model and pointed out to my wife it would be like this – only without all the bird poo over the roof, bonnet and the door. And my guess was that you’d be able to see through the glass as it wouldn’t be covered in as much dust and dirt.

You guessed it – I was wrong, this was the one he’d arranged especially for us – and even with a weeks notice 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, why we were changing – 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 Range Rover. Welcome Mr and Mrs Clarke – would you like a coffee or tea. Please take a seat. (all the others knew our name and were expecting us too, yet failed to engage with us though, why was that?).

The warm, friendly (not slippery or slimey) salesman opened a conversation with us. A conversation, not a presentation. The car’s all ready for you. What do you drive now? What is it you’re looking for in your next car. Why do you want to change it etc. Then 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 –  no idea, we didn’t ask and he didn’t say. He sold the sizzle not the sausage.

Review your sales process – 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!

If you haven’t already done so, make a list of all the features (large and small) of your products and services and then put an associated benefit 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.