WHAT CLIENTS BUY (hint; it ain’t what you think)

There is a very old saying; “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.”

Clients and customers truly don’t want your product.


Our customers buy what our products DO for them, or what our products allow them to do.

They want more profit, experiences, ego-boosts, greater productivity, or memories.

It’s likely you have had some sales-training by now, and understand that people don’t buy what we manufacture, develop, or concept. They buy what our products allow them to do/experience.

As a reminding example; people generally don’t buy cars; they buy the self-reliant ability to get from Point A to Point B.  People don’t buy skiis; they buy the thrill of rushing down a mountain grade, or perhaps they buy a social experience with other friends that own skiis. What they DON’T buy is the physical object/device itself.

Selling “facts” or “features” is meaningless. Overall, selling on “facts” is counter-productive and may be construed as arrogance.

Selling “fuel-injected, or Quad-core processor, or 4K display” means very little unless these facts are tied to the benefits of what the fact/feature provides.

  • Fuel-injected allows for better performance both in terms of fuel consumption and greater power from the vehicle engine. “Would more power and greater fuel-efficiency be something that interests you?
  • The benefit of a Quad-core processor means not only faster computing, but also greater ability to have multiple applications open without bogging down the system. In turn, this results in greater productivity. “How do you suppose a faster processor might benefit your workflow?
  • A 4K display means the user experiences a better image, sharper in low light, smoother color transitions/contrasts, and less eyestrain/fatigue. “Do you think you’d enjoy not having a headache at the end of a long day in front of a computer screen?

Business clients don’t purchase software because it’s written in SQL, Java, whatever. They don’t buy that it’s got 512 bit encryption. They don’t buy module-ized systems. Business customers don’t even buy 24/7 tech support. But they do buy products that allow them to use software on whatever OS platform they have, they do buy secure information, and they do buy a product that can grow as their business grows. They buy peace of mind, knowing that their data systems will always be up and running 24/7, thanks to your company and the assurances your support team offers.

Either way,clients generally don’t care much about specifications; they care about what specifications/facts/features DO for them. If you know WHY they’re buying, it’s easier to direct the conversation of benefits to fit their particular dominant buying motive.

Each time you present a fact, tie it to a benefit.

Try to target the benefit to their dominant buying motive.

“This camera has a full-frame sensor which allows you to shoot better pictures in low light.  Would better images in low light be something you’d appreciate from your camera?

The SalesBurger is a device that helps me remember to sell the sizzle, not the steak. The “meat” of a salesburger is the primary part of a hamburger that people purchase; the meat is the “benefit.” The meat is the tastiest part of the burger, right? When presenting, try to invoke the Lettuce of Enthusiasm, and go easy on the Mustard of Intimidation.

  • FACT-Describe the fact/feature/spec of the product.
  • BENEFIT-Describe what it DOES for the customer.
  • EVIDENCE-Demonstrate the benefit (when possible).
  • NAIL DOWN-Restate the benefit in the form of a question. “Would this be important/valuable/useful to you?” (A nail-down is merely another form of a trial close)

Try using the “salesburger method” when presenting a product. Tie benefits to facts/features. You’ll increase sales as a result!


salesburger ©1981 dse

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I've been a successful sales manager, musician, film/video professional, instructional designer, and skydiver. Picked up a few pieces of gold, brass, titanium, and tin along the way. This blog is where I spill my guts about how I'm feeling at any given moment, and maybe a blurb or two about what's happening in the sales, video, or skydiving worlds.

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