Don’t Just Sell the Nuts and Bolts

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Cartoon SalespersonJust after the invention of the telephone, sales people took to the streets around the world selling this marvelous new invention.  It would seem that to sell a telephone to people who have never seen or used a telephone before, would be easy.  Yet, many sales people had problems closing door-to-door sales for this new and advanced product.

However, one sales person consistently outsold everyone.  In fact, his sales were nearly 200% higher than that of the average sales person.  So, a wise sales manager set out to find out why.

The manager rode along with some of the average sales people first and found they had essentially the same presentation.  It went something like this:

“Hello!  What I have here is a new invention called the telephone.  Unlike the old outdated telegraph, this telephone actually takes your voice and breaks it down into electronic signals.  It then takes those signals and transmits them across town via those wires overhead.  The signal arrives at switching station miles from here, where the operator connects your electronic location with another by a switchboard and bingo!  You are talking with someone many miles away!”

The manger noticed that the sales people had vast knowledge of the product, but saw minimal results.  He then went out with the super sales person whose presentation at the door went more like this:

“What I have here will allow you to talk to your friends and loved ones who are hundreds of miles away, and speak with them just as if they were sitting right here next to you in your home!”


And the Moral of the Story is…
Many sales people today have forgotten the old adage, “Sell the sizzle not the steak.”  As you gain expert knowledge of your product, be careful to remember that much of what you know is for you to know.  Most people could care less about exactly how their car works.  Rather, they want to know that it will transport them to where they want to go and do it in the style for which they desire.

While some products do require mechanical or technical explanation and selling, be careful not over do this.  Think of those technical aspects and equate them to their beneficial counterpart.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 12 August, 2011

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