Spirit & Truth # 293
“Sell the Sizzle”
By Greg Smith
|"Taste, and see that the Lord is good!"|
Many years ago I tried unsuccessfully to make a living as a door-to-door meat salesman. I would display the product, quote the price, and ask the prospective customer if they would like to buy. Rarely did they express much interest in what I was selling. The reason, my manager told me, was that while I had done a good job describing the product, it wasn’t actually meat that I was selling. He told me, “You’ve got to sell the sizzle, not the steak.”
Much to my manager’s chagrin, his words taught me more about evangelism than about sales. Today I realize that when you share your faith with someone who isn’t a believer, you’ve got to do it in such a way that they become hungry for Jesus. When you’re selling meat, you’ve got to get your customer to imagine a barbecue grill and the smell of charcoal, sizzling steaks and the laughter of friends. When Christians share Jesus, they should avoid theological arguments and doctrinal statements (describing the product itself). Instead, they should sell the “sizzle” of God’s love, grace, and blessing. Or, for those testimony is geared more towards warning about the wrath to come, “sizzle” takes on another meaning. Either way, salvation is best presented not as theological steak to be chewed on, but as a mouthwatering message of God’s grace to be received and savored for eternity.
Romans 10:14-15, 17 (ERV) says, “But before people can pray to the Lord for help, they must believe in him. And before they can believe in the Lord, they must hear about him. And for anyone to hear about the Lord, someone must tell them. And before anyone can go and tell them, they must be sent. As the Scriptures say, ‘How wonderful it is to see someone coming to tell good news!’…So faith comes from hearing the Good News. And people hear the Good News when someone tells them about Christ.”
If you’re a Christian, then God has given you a mission—to share the truth of His salvation with anyone who will hear. It’s not your job to make them buy the product—the Holy Spirit will convict people of sin and lead them to salvation. It is your job to faithfully present the Gospel to your listener. Sell the sizzle, not the steak.
When I sold meat, I learned one other reason why I had a difficult time making sales: I wasn’t sold myself. I didn’t really believe in my product. It was overpriced and overrated. So how could I sell a product I didn’t believe in? Do you have trouble sharing your faith with your friends, family, and neighbors? Maybe you’re not really sold yourself. In sales, I found that when I had an actual financial investment in the product I was trying to sell, I could sell it better. In evangelism, I’ve found that it’s only when people are sold-out to Jesus that they can share Him effectively. Invest your life in Him, and watch the way people respond to your genuine invitation to faith. Make them hungry for Jesus, then “taste, and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8).”