Are you selling the Sizzle or the Steak

We have all been in a restaurant, wondering what to order, when suddenly we hear a sizzling steak, fajitas or other item being delivered to another customer and we think, “Hey, I want that!” The sizzle is no accident. Long ago our steaks were brought to us on a regular plate. Same food, but no sizzle.

Some savvy restaurant owner realized that if that same piece of meat was put on a hot metal platter, it would sizzle as it was delivered to the table. That sizzle could be heard throughout the restaurant, and it fairly screamed “buy me” to other restaurant patrons.

Does the sizzle make the steak any better? Perhaps it does. The sizzle whets our appetite and makes us anticipate that juicy steak. If the steak is as good as the sizzle, then the restaurant has improved the perception of the meal. The anticipation and a great steak makes our experience even better.

The opposite, however, is also true. The anticipation without a great steak is a letdown, and it makes our dinner seem even worse than it would be without the sizzle. In this situation, the restaurant would be better off not to lure us in with a promise of a meal that will not be delivered.

In business when we offer features that sizzle, our success will be dependent on whether our product lives up to the dazzling features we have promoted to the customer. Our primary goal in business should be to deliver products and services that live up to, or exceed, the hype that we promote. The companies that I choose to do business with have a message that is outstanding, and products and services that deliver on that message.

What are you selling? Are your products and services living up to the promises you make to your customers? Either way, your customers will let you know.