Don’t Discuss the Sausage Factory

Wide shot of a large factory

Otto von Bismark once said, “Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.” Now, you may not think this quote applies to you, but it’s applicable to all entrepreneurs and sales teams. Customers don’t care about the cool stuff you’re selling unless it applies to them!

When we first started Sparks Law, we thought that everyone, like us, really wanted to know about business law. We were so excited to tell everyone about the cool things you could do with a corporate binder, and limited liability, and non-compete agreements (really, we could go on, if you want to geek out just call us). What we found, though, was that people only cared about the stuff that directly applied to them. It’s the same in all of sales.

The Shift in Commercial Advertising

Back when commercials were on the radio, they’d talk all about the “sausage factory.” Every item’s selling points were qualities it had, or how it was manufactured, or the ingredients, and the people that made it, and where it was made, and how, and on and on. BORING!

Nowadays, the selling points are all about the buyer, not the item being sold. The selling points are “buying this will make you feel awesome,” or “this product will make people think you’re cool.” There’s a reason for that shift: people don’t care about the sausage factory.

Talking to Potential Customers

When you first start your business, you are likely going to be very proud of your product or service. It’s understandable that you’d want to talk about it, but your customers don’t care. It would be a waste of your time to try to educate them on what you do.

These days, customers’ attention spans are a few seconds long (they used to be about 15 minutes)! So, don’t waste those precious seconds talking about stuff they don’t care about!

If you’re a new business owner, you might default to talking about your products, rather than leaning in and asking questions about what the customer is looking to buy. Let the customer talk about the details of their life, their relationships, their needs, and avoid discussing yours entirely.

You might see yourself reverting to the sausage factory discussion, but don’t beat yourself up about it. Just be aware, be mindful of it, and do your best to catch it next time.