Sell the sizzle, not the sausage

Great managers know how to engage their team. They know how to get the best from the team, and they do this by ‘selling the sizzle and not the sausage’. By that I mean they sell the benefits of carrying out a task or project rather than the functionality. This is an old sales’ methodology: sales people promote the benefits to the buyer not what the functionality.

Let’s put this into context: you want a member of your staff to take on additional work. This will increase productivity, expand your product or service offering, save you time and increase the bottom-line. Everything that you have just read is the sausage.

Now to selling the sizzle. You will want to emphasise to your team member what they will get from taking on the additional work, which must be relevant to them. What will motivate them? Is it that they will learn something new? Get exposure to new systems? Will the work give them greater contact with senior management? And so forth.  Point to note, what you may see as their sizzle may not hold true.  One way of finding someone’s sizzle is to ask them “what will you gain by carrying out this….?”.

Find out from one-to-ones what makes the individual tick, why are they at work?  And then support them on this and see how the task and then gain their buy-in. Remember, it is their why not yours that will get their buy-in.

Taking the time to work with your team member and find out what will motivate them to carry out a great job; you build up trust and respect on both sides, yours, and theirs.   This motivation is personal to them.  This is not about the you their manager, or the department or even the business.  It is about the individual’s motivation.  After all, get that right and you, your team and the business will all benefit from the outcome.

There will be times when neither you or the other party will see any sizzle, and that must be delivered with honesty.  Sometimes, you do things that you don’t enjoy.  As a manger, you can’t hide or ignore these tasks, neither can your staff. However, for most of the new tasks, you should be able to find something worthwhile that the other party will get from it… sizzle, sizzle and sizzle some more.

6 simple pointers:

  1. Get to know your staffs motivation, 1:1’s are the perfect environment for this.
  2. Consider the person in front of you, one person’s sizzle is not everyone’s.
  3. Ask the individual what they will get from carrying out the task?
  4. Have an idea of their sizzle in case the individual can’t think of one for themselves.
  5. Know your goal – and share it after hearing what is in it for the other party.
  6. Ensure that the sizzle is delivered – no fabricating…
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