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What Does “Sell The Sizzle Not The Steak” Mean?

in Skills

Elmer Wheeler

Don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle.  You’ve heard it a million times.  But what’s it really mean?  Let’s take a look.

The saying comes from the late Elmer Wheeler, who was known as “America’s Greatest Salesman.”

And here’s what he meant by it:

It’s the sizzle that sells the steak, not the cow.  It’s waiters, not steers, that stroll through restaurants, delivering juicy steaks to hungry patrons.

And as they do, what happens?

First you hear the sizzle.  Then you see the sizzle.  Then you smell the sizzle.  Boom.  A triple-blow to your emotions.

And now, when your waiter comes back, you order yourself a steak, instead of that salad you’d planned on getting.  Right?

You were sold by the sizzle, not the steak itself.

And, according to Wheeler, every piece of merchandise, every product, every service has its own set of sizzles.  You just have to become “sizzle conscious” and find out what they are.

For example, the sizzle that makes people buy is the tang in the cheese, the crunch in the cracker, the whiff of the coffee, the bubbles in champagne, the foam on beer, the crisp picture of the TV, the tingling of ice cubs in a tall glass of lemonade.

The sizzle is something that moves the hearts of people; the steak is something that moves the brain.  And since the heart is closer to the pocketbook than the brain, the sizzle sells easier and faster than the steak.

Make sense?

So put on your “sizzle specs” and look at what you’re selling through the eyes of a sales sizzler.

Wheeler adds: if people don’t like you, they won’t like anything you’re offering them, regardless of how great the sizzle is.

So before you pitch your product’s sizzle, sell ’em on your own sizzle first.  Your smile, your style, your attention to detail, your ability to listen, whatever it is.

Okie dokie?  Good.

Now that you understand one of the greatest sales sayings of all time, go get to selling.

About the author: Cory Johnson likes hip-hop, comedy, cold beer, curvy women and writing. His net worth is $11 million. Here’s how he did it.