Are You Still Selling the Sizzle?

MonMan Are You Still Selling the Sizzle? Picture of Steve Jobs

Haven't you heard?

People don't care about the sizzle.

They want the steak!

Not just any steak; the best damn steak money can buy.

But not too expensive; money's a little tight. And make it fast, because they're really hungry.

Does that sound like any customers you have? I know it sounds like some of my customers! In fact, I think it sounds like most customers!

It's Our Own Fault

Who can blame them? Ever since the dawn of time, salespeople have been trying to make their product seem better than the rest. The problem has only gotten worse in the information age, with more salespeople competing for shorter and shorter attention spans.

The bar has been set so high it is almost out of reach, but there is plenty of space below for mediocre products from marketers clamoring for attention.

Of course, quality is always a great way to stand out, but how do you tell your customers about quality in the first place?

Are you begging for your customers' attention? Are you using buzzwords like "better", "faster", "more efficient" and "more dependable"? If so, you're shouting way too loud and trying way too hard.

You have the same problem many salespeople have: Selling the sizzle and forgetting about the steak.

Quality is Contagious

The most successful companies live and breath quality, and you should too: In your products, your services and how you treat your customers. Think about Rackspace, one of the most successful hosting companies in the world. They are so committed to quality customer service, they tradmarked their slogan: Fanatical Support.

Here at MonMan we're always striving for the same thing. We only offer top quality products, and we only help develop products from companies dedicated to quality.

That sure sounds great, but these days, people want proof. They want you to show them, in as little time as possible, that you are the best.

The hard part is developing a culture that is totally committed to quality results. That's where most businesses fail. But the good news is that once you get it, it's contagious.

People love quality! People crave it. We all want the best. Whether it's your customers who want what you sell, or your team members who are stoked to be part of it, if you've got quality, people want it!

This all makes sense, right? So, again, let me ask you: Why are you selling the sizzle?

The Only Shortcut is Doing it the Right Way

It's human nature to find the shortest, easiest path between two points. And, for better or worse, the same applies to business.

I'm sure you are always looking for ways to "get things done" faster. And in this day and age, who can blame you? There's a lot of competition to fight off, and customers are smarter than ever.

I want to let you in on a very "well known secret": There is no secret to success. There are no shortcuts. There is only hard work, focused in a smart direction, with an absolute commitment to doing what's right.

Sure, you can try to find ways around this universal truth. As a matter of fact, it's a good idea to get creative every now and again. But there is no shortcut around providing a quality product or service.

It may take a while, but you will eventually become known for bringing quality solutions to the marketplace, if you remain dedicated. The point is to create a reputation that you can hang your career on. Your reputation has always meant everything, but perhaps never more so than in the age of social media.

You'll notice our website isn't flashy, there're no big buttons that say "click here!", and overall, there is a high information to graphics ratio. It's all part of our committment to selling steak without the sizzle. If you can take a boring, raw hunk of meat and sell it, well, you must really be on to something.

Here's Our Secret to Selling Steak Without the Sizzle:

  • Have a Product or Service that Works Better than Anything Else

I put this first because it truly is the most important. You need your product and service to stand out. It needs to be high quailty. It must be the best.

Jack Welch (former GE CEO) would completely scrap any division in which GE couldn't hold the top 1 or 2 spot in the market.

The difference from first to second is huge. The difference from first to third is an absolute game changer. Focusing on areas where you could be the best, allows you to mobilize resources so you are the best.

  • Focus on the Customer's Pain

This is such an overused saying, it has lost its meaning! Perhaps another way to state this would be: "Be customer-centric, not product-centric."

Too many salespeople try to fit their clients around the product or service. The most successful, however, do the opposite.

Stop. Ask questions. Listen to the customer and find out what they need, not what you want. Only then can you provide true value.

  • Quickly and Effectively Communicate How You Can Help

Some studies show that visitors to your website decide if they should stay or click "back" within half a second of the page loading. I'd love to see similar statistics for cold calling on the phone.

In my experience, if you don't get their attention in the first few seconds, the call won't go well. The trick is to let customers know how you can help, without sounding rehearesed.

I'm not talking about elevator speeches, either. They might be a great way to firm up in your own mind what your business is all about, but most elevator speeches I've heard sound like, well, speeches.

If I'm your potential customer, I don't want a sales pitch. I want you to fix my problem. Please, tell me how you can help.

  • Share your Commitment to Their Success

I've had the privilege of working with some really incredible people. From data centers, to healthcare facilities and high-tech manufacturing, there is an amazing amount of talent out there.

Our clients are smarter and better equipped than ever. Yet, they still want to know you'll be there when things go wrong.

No matter how fancy your website or how many connections you have on LinkedIn, never underestimate the power of being known as someone who will back up your customers when things get ugly.

This kind of reputation has to be earned, but your customers need to know you've got their backs from Day 1, before you even sell them anything.

  • Customer Service the Hell out of Them

The sales cycle never ends. You work your tail off to get a new client and then one of two things happens: You either provide the best damn service they've ever seen, or you screw up and get your butt handed to you. In today's world, there is no in between.

Before you get too far down the road to success, make sure you are dedicated to customer support like Rackspace. Be a fanatic. Doing this will not only set you apart from the rest, but it just may be the only way to maintain long term success, while your competition fades over time.


Well, there you have it. It's not fancy. There're no catchy buzzwords. But trust me, it works. Customers are far too knowledgeable to fall for slick marketing. People want substance. They want quality. They want a damn good steak, and they don't care if it sizzles.

Do you need help bringing your product or service to market? We can help! Give us a call or email, and let's see what we can do together.

MonMan is a Division 09, 15 and 16 firm specializing in market entry, sales channel development and service of efficient solutions for mission critical facilities.

Go to top