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Selling up: it’s in the sizzle not the sausage

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When selling anything, the old adage of “emphasise the sizzle rather than the sausage” remains as true as ever.

We all know what a sausage looks like and maybe have a certain idea of what it may cost. But what we want to know more about is that tantalising sound as it goes from sickly pink to golden brown, or the smell of the odd charred corner. You want to hear the hiss of the fat as the sausage crackles to perfection and imagine the smell of the finished product ready to serve with creamy mash.

Hungry” Of course you are. I’ve explained the experience not the product.

So, when it comes to corporate sales, why do we still see boring sale memorandum after boring sale memorandum emphasising only the facts?

Facts are, of course, very important. But once those facts are laid out, you need to emphasise the hidden assets of your business to get maximum attention from buyers.

Consider highlighting these elements for extra sales sizzle:

  • Brand
  • Investment in plant and equipment
  • Customer profile
  • Customer contracts
  • Supplier relationships
  • IT systems
  • Marketing expertise
  • Market position and expectations
  • Banking relationship
  • Insurance record
  • Regulator relationship
  • IP
  • R&D skills
  • Innovation, training and development 
  • HR system
  • Cross skills of SMT team
  • International knowledge and position
  • Good governance

Jo Haigh is head of FDS corporate finance services and the author of The Financial Times Guide to Finance for Non Financial Managers.

Jo can be contacted on 01924 376 784/07850 475 878 or at



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