Sell the Steak and the Sizzle

Sell the Steak and the Sizzle


According to the Sales Board, 99% of salespeople don’t set the right objectives for sales calls. Each situation is different, of course, and is influenced by the prospect, the product, the time factor, the environment, degrees of familiarity, and a host of other possibilities.

Sell the Steak and the Sizzle

But your objectives-no matter what they are-should always include promotion of both the steak (your product) and the sizzle (the psychological elements that make the product more appealing).


The traditional Steak and Sizzle strategy allows you to cite product features and then help the prospect envision the tantalizing difference the product can make in his or her life.


You: “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me, Julianna. Not many companies take their whole office on a ski vacation. With spouses! Congratulations. Your company must be doing very well.”

Prospect: “Well, we have a very small staff and it’s only the first time we’ve done this–we had a very good year last year.


This is the situation every salesperson dreams about. You have a chance to talk about your corporate incentive programs to a very receptive audience. So far, so good. It’ll be fairly easy now to make a pitch that incorporates both features and benefits.

Steak Strategy:

You: “Let me start with a warning: most people who visit our resort become snow-addicted. They want to return year after year. So, if your good years continue, we’ll probably be seeing you on our slopes for many years to come. Think about a five-year membership. It’s designed for small businesses like yours who return every year and consequently can take advantages of special discounted rates.”

Prospect: “We may not want to return. It’s a great place, but we have people with different preferences.”

Sizzle Strategy:

You: “We like to think we can provide a pleasurable experience for every vacation-whim. Imagine it: while your secretary is flying down our crystallized slope, feeling the wind in her hair and, the sun in her eyes, and the passion in her heart, her husband might be quietly taking in our magnificent scenery in a horse-drawn sleigh. There are video games in a side room of the lodge, a small casino in another, and a string of exclusive shops on the next side street.

Picture yourself relaxing after a hard day of shopping or speeding down our challenging terrain. There you are in the hot tub outside your room, a glass of champagne in your hands. Above you are a brilliant stars, dancing for your exclusive pleasure while in the distance you hear the lonely howl of a coyote. Or, think about sitting with your husband in our lounge. It has a huge, hard-carved fireplace in the center and if you order wine, it’s served with a heated blanket-big enough for both of you.”


Sometimes, it’s necessary to deal with both the quantitative and the qualitative aspects of your product. You’ve seen an example here of someone who can provide details about numbers but can also inflame the imagination with tempting images. Successful salespeople wear many hats as they describe steak and sizzle and are willing, as needed, to replace the chef’s hat with the poet’s.

By  Devin  Mason

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