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  • Writer's pictureMatt Decker

“Sell the Sizzle, not the steak”, what does that mean in 2020?

As the new guy at AppointmentsIQ, I would like to tell you a painful story, which became a powerful lesson for me that has really changed my thinking when pursuing net new accounts.

Sales professionals tend to talk about creating relationships and how the buyer must like you in order to buy from you. Every sales training curriculum reinforces this. In your own life, perhaps you can identify with this wisdom.

Think about it. Anytime we buy something we always see the need to get two or three quotes, right? We can't responsibly buy something from the first person who comes along, even if they have an exceptional solution which meets or exceeds the expectations and goals. We need something to compare it to.

Plus, none of us like being sold to. We want to both select and buy comfortably. I know in my personal life I am not going to speak to someone who does not seek to understand me and my company and has zero experience dealing with similar problems and providing similar solutions at a similar price point. In short, I tend to prefer the most feel good, value packed, impactful, cost effective, and low risk option. Perhaps you do as well.

I wanted to preface my story because despite having these tendencies in mind when pitching one of my best friends on my new company's solutions, I assumed he would do business with me based on our friendship. I knew he would bypass this typical consumer buying behavior because he liked me.

Incredulously, I was so confident knowing he would become a client that I was lazy and careless about it. I exerted the least amount of effort by lobbing him a quick 3 sentence email to schedule a call which would inevitably result in business. This was my first mistake.

Three days later I had still received no response from one of my closest friends.

Naturally, my feelings and my ego were both hurt by his silence. Surely, my note had been caught in his pesky spam filter. So, I sent him a text with the exact same information.

I arrived at my office and read his response which he authored at 11:03 PM the previous night. His response was “yes, I received your email, But… I am super busy this week.

Let's connect next week.”

Awesome. This was going to be easy! So, I sent him a meeting request for the following week.

He declined it. His schedule had changed and a day later he countered for the following week.

After the second reschedule, however, my enthusiasm faded a bit and a twinge of bewilderment began to set in. I recall thinking that his schedule had filled up more rapidly than I thought was possible.

I still didn't see what was happening and over the next 15 minutes, several questions ran through my head and my heart.

Was he having issues on the home front? Was he working against deadlines? Did I make him mad? Did he have a bad experience with my new company? Who am I working for?!

No. He was just busy.

Next week, we will have a quick conversation and then he will loop in the appropriate people helping him make the decision, push for me and fast track me through procurement.

I was so sure of it that. I even put it in my sales forecast report. Mistake number 2.

Being the eternal optimist, I truly believed of all people he would give me business. As a matter of fact, I had helped him throughout his career, reviewed his resume when he was looking for a new position, I helped him brainstorm. He kind of owes me a favor. I thought I had it in the bag.

In truth, that call rescheduled three times and was finally cancelled. I was baffled, however he finally told me that although he liked me personally, his credibility within the business and his own reputation could be questioned if he made the wrong buying decision.

He went on to tell me that my initial approach brought him zero immediate value, yet other vendors had. Worse still, the other vendors he had never met, had no prior relationship with nor any vested interest in relationship. My feelings were hurt, my boss was irate and I set out change my ways. It was now clear to me that people do not buy from people they like when it is the only criteria being presented. I must bring superior value and vision. Even to one of my best friends. That experience changed my entire perspective.

Ever hear a sales trainer tell you to “sell the sizzle, not the steak”?

That is the oldest and cheesiest rule in the book however when applied correctly was highly effective when e mailing and cold calling in the 70’s 80’s and 90s. This is not a winning strategy in 2020. Still, companies are pushing this approach to the teams.

Please allow me to present you with some perspective into what your target market is thinking when they read your ultra-awesome sizzling emails. You think they are so fantastic that you plan to send the series to over 10,000 C level decision making executives, one by one over the next 6 weeks. It's grueling, tedious work yet you anticipate at least 25% response based on your ability to understand the unique challenges and problems they deal with.

The first one likely looks something like this:

Hi, my name is xxxx with xxxx and I lead xxxx ... And I provide xxxx ... For top industry firms.

We know as a chief operations officer that your responsibility is to tie it all together and make it spin like a top. We've worked with several firms just like yours and we know from experience you're probably facing challenges with xxxx and perhaps even xxxx.

We would love to help! Our solution has been proven to save organizations 18% to 20% overall and cut user times by up to 30% once fully implemented.

Would you prefer Wednesday or Friday for a quick discussion to introduce?

PS .. I've included a link to a recent article we've authored which I think you'll enjoy!

Now, you just need to sit back and wait. Surely, they are reviewing your website, reviewing the whitepaper you have attached and most importantly checking you out on LinkedIn. That new pic of you and your spouse in Hawaii will really resonate! Slam dunk!

You face one small problem, however and it may be just the beginning. Most of those 10,000 C level decisions making executives are getting 95% of the same content from 20 - 100 vendors every week, month in, month out and they absolutely hate it.

What you thought would bring immense value has been cheapened like the US Dollar when the banksters decide to print more. It is time to acknowledge that cold calling, lead generation and the path to meeting new, interested, and engaged clients has completely changed and so must we.

That is where Appointments IQ can help.

Put simply, we leverage the science of cutting-edge technology to shorten your lead generation cycles and increase the averages in your favor so rather than hating the players, we would love to help you change the way you play the game.

My name is Matt Decker and I'm a 20+ year technology services sales and recruiting executive. I am the new guy at Appointments IQ. I am excited to be leading the technology sales and delivery recruiting units to bring our clients a better outcome to the selling process.

I have been fortunate enough throughout my career to work for some of the top consulting and technology firms in the world. As a result, I have seen the best sales programs and I have seen the worst. I know failure as well as success.

Finally my hope is to meet with you and through technology and improved data, bring a better result to your business development initiatives.


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