“Sell the sizzle, not the steak,” said Elmer Wheeler.
Wheeler’s key message has always been that you have to focus on communicating the selling proposition; the primary reasons why others will want to buy your products, services, or ideas. Many people have innovative ideas for expanding and enhancing their images, reputations, businesses, or brands; but are unable to do so.
Said differently, there are many underperforming brands that could be doing much better. So below, are three “well-tested ideas” for putting your ideas across to other people, so as to arouse interest, enthusiasm, and positive action to achieve success. Here they are:
Idea #1: “Use a fly rod, not a feed tube.” The late Earl Nightingale said, “Others won’t accept your idea until they can accept it as their idea. When you want to sell someone an idea, take a lesson from the fisherman who casts his fly temporarily near the trout. He could never ram the hook into the trout’s mouth. But he can entice the trout to come to the hook.”
Asking provocative ‘questions’ becomes an effective fly rod tactic, rather than providing outright statements. For instance, asking, “Do you feel your company could reduce expenses, improve customer service, and increase bottom line performance using our product?” would be a better strategy that telling a prospect this fact. When you ask what’s in it for them questions, those who respond own the answers and the ideas. In essence, you have allowed other people to sell themselves on your ideas.
Idea #2: Let other people argue the case for you. Benjamin Franklin said, “The way to convince another is to state your case moderately and accurately. Then, let them know that perhaps you may be mistaken about it; which causes your listener to receive what you have to say and then, turn about and convince you that you are correct; and that your doubts are unwarranted. When ideas are disseminated in a non arrogant and humbling manner, your potential opponents will become allies.”
An example of Franklin’ strategy might go something like this: “Possibly you could benefit from a career coach, since most people I have studied achieved rapid success by investing in good coaches and mentors. But you know, some people can’t afford coaches or would rather spend more time trying to do it on their own, rather than investing in someone who can help them achieve success now. So I guess we could make a case for both investing in a coach and not investing in one. What do you think?”
Idea #3: The third principle is one taught by Elmer Wheeler himself. He says that influence begins with getting those you want to influence to see what’s in it for them. That being said, almost everything you say or do must be said and done in such a way that it consistently addresses the concept “what’s in it for me?” Wheeler says, “You must develop a need for your idea in the mind of the prospect – for until he realizes a need, you will make little sales progress and have little influence to achieve your goal.”
Wheeler often uses the phrase, you-ability. He says, “In creating and communicating a need in the mind of the customer (selling an idea), remember that although these ‘sizzles’ may be of equal importance to you, they may differ in importance to the prospect. If you have you-ability, you will be able to take your ‘sizzles’ and fit them to each prospect with uncanny accuracy!”
Three ideas for promoting your ideas to achieve the success you aspire to: 1) Use a fly rod, not a feed tube, 2) Let the other person argue the case for you, and 3) Get those you want to influence to see what’s in it for them. It’s good advice, I believe. What do you think?
Jay Block is an industry pioneer and the nation’s leading motivational career coach. Jay is a best-selling author of 15 books, including his latest blockbuster: 101 Best Ways To Land a Job in Troubled Times (McGraw-Hill). He has a 20-year record of success for creating and recreating the career management industry. His website is: www.jayblock.com