Sell the Sizzle Not the Steak on eBay

Avril Harper

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There’s a major copywriting axiom that applies equally to the technique of listing products on eBay.

‘Sell the Sizzle, Not the Steak’ is great advice, it means extolling the benefits of your product, not merely describing the features of whatever you are selling.

It works because people don’t buy steak for its own sake, they buy for the eating experience, the taste, the sizzle.

You must sell benefits of your product (sizzle), not the product itself (steak)if you’re going to reach the widest audience of eager bidders.

So, for example, the title ‘Figure-Hugging Crushed Silk Ivory Ballgown’ should attract more interest than ‘Woman’s Cream Frock’; ‘Elvis Presley Hand-Signed Army Recruitment Portrait’ sounds better than ‘Elvis Presley Autograph’.

These additional features ‘figure-hugging’, ‘Crushed silk’, ‘Hand-Signed’, are the sizzle, more likely to make a bidder’s mouth water than describing the product as frock, autograph, whatever.

Taking time to learn what makes your prospective buyer’s mouth water makes all the difference between attracting fabulous finishing prices for your items and those items instead going unsold.

Here are some examples based on items I currently have listed on eBay:

* I could have listed it ‘Sunday Dispatch Newspaper’ but I think I’ll get more bids and higher prices for ‘TRUTH ABOUT THE LINDBERGH BABY Newspaper 1932’. The Lindbergh baby’s disappearance is still a major interest despite the passage of 70 years. A newspaper per se, just 70 years old, is worth little or nothing. The Lindbergh Baby is the sizzle, the newspaper is the steak.

* ‘Dog Print’ is good, but infinitely better is ‘SCOTTISH TERRIER Hand-Coloured Print. Lucy Dawson. 1946’. Scottish Terrier memorabilia is hugely popular, so is Lucy Dawson, and despite being quite modern, ‘1946’ still impresses more people than a more recent presentation. ‘Scottish Terrier’, ‘1946’, ‘Lucy Dawson’, are the sizzle, ‘Print’ is the steak.

Take time over your listings, find the sizzle that sells the steak.

Avril Harper is a business writer and eBay PowerSeller who has produced several free guides to making money from eBay, including 103 POWERSELLER TIPS which you can download with other freely distributable reports and eBooks at Read more eBay articles at:


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