Sell the ‘sizzle’ not the Sausage

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A colleague of mine who runs a telemarketing company made me laugh today…… one of her telemarketers complained to her saying “I can lead the prospect to water but I can’t make them drink”. My colleague is a wise and seasoned telemarketer and she replied “You don’t want to MAKE them do anything.  You just want to help them realise that they’re thirsty”.

This scenario led me to remember when I started out on my telemarketing journey many moons ago. I was taught that a sale is not about features, it’s about benefits. Benefits are the good things that will happen when someone uses a product or service. This is often summed up as ‘sell the sizzle, not the sausage’. It’s a vital concept to grasp when selling on the phone because it is what persuades your prospect that they want to buy whatever it is you have to sell.

Let’s face it, a sausage (the feature) itself is not really very interesting but when you conjure up a mental picture of a sausage sizzling on the barbecue (the benefit) then that picture would be mouth-watering. That is of course, if you like barbecued sausages!

The reason why I am talking about features v benefits is because benefits are what the prospect buys. You will be a great telemarketer if you can answer the question every prospect asks (either directly or indirectly) and that is “What’s in it for me”?

A simple ‘rule of thumb’ is if you have stated something verbally on the phone to which a prospects response could be “so what” then it is highly likely that you have stated a feature. If the prospects response is “fantastic, I want one” you will have stated a benefit.

An example of features v benefits

Telemarketer: ” I offer telemarketing services”

Prospect: “so what?”

Telemarketer: “I can generate leads and sales appointments for your company”

Prospect: “interesting, tell me more”

When you are on the phone selling to someone that you have never met and are not likely to meet then it is important to remember that features and benefits are what they want to hear.  They want to know how the product or service that you are selling will benefit them.

Unfortunately too many people make the mistake of only talking about features and then wonder why they are not selling anything.

Don’t take it for granted that everyone knows what you do. They don’t. When selling on the phone explain very briefly what your product or service is and then verbalise what the benefits are to the prospect.  You will then be talking the prospects language and you will sell.


The Tallest Poppy Telemarketing                                                                                                                            Rotherham, Doncaster                                                                                                                                                    01709 584039