Sales Lessons from a Big Mac

Peady’s Selling Engagement

Ever heard of the ‘Big Mac Index’? The video below explains the concept.

When I saw it, I began thinking about how a Big Mac also has many things in common with an effective sales process.

Welcome to this week’s post on sales and selling success.

Let’s look at the Big Mac once described as ‘two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun’

  • A set number of ingredients with ‘special sauce’
  • A systemised way for staff to put it together 
  • A globally familiar look and taste 
  • Can be eaten by itself or with sides or even upsized
  • Customers have other options (menu choices and competitors)

What’s the connection to selling?
You can model your selling approach using the McDonalds Big Mac methodology. In other words, a standardised system.

One of the biggest challenges for sales teams is uncovering customer needs, and this is much more difficult than deciding whether to have fries. A sales methodology is needed that allows a sales team to respond to changing market conditions then discover and deliver solutions to customer needs.


The ‘bun’ is product knowledge. A successful salesperson needs to understand their product or service and how it can be utilised. An absolute basic skill and vital to a sales methodology. 
The ‘patties’ are critical for a Big Mac and in sales language just as important. It’s the ability to prospect and qualify those prospects into opportunities by phone, social media, face to face or email. No prospect pipeline, no meetings, no sales!
Once you have developed a pipeline you’ll need ‘lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions’. These important ingredients affect the taste of your approach. How to build rapport, create curiosity, make sticky appointments, write a compelling proposal, knowing how (and when) to close. 
Finally, the ‘special sauce’. Once a secret and now available online for all to share. For a great sales strategy it’s the ability to ask great probing questions in the framework of a business conversation. The Big Mac is just another burger without the special sauce and without well-practiced questioning skills you are just another ‘rep’!


The ‘sides’

Many people like fries or a coke and sometimes a dessert with their Big Mac. Fair enough. Many customers need ‘sides’ with their sales solution too. A truly great sales methodology drives ongoing customer engagement and the more you know, the more you learn about a customer the more you can help them. In sales the ‘sides’ are the upsell and cross-sell opportunities that are discovered. 


There are many reasons why people would choose McDonald’s over a competitor. Probably the most compelling reason is that they have done an amazing job building a brand on the consistency of service and product. McDonald’s’ customers know exactlywhat they are getting, and that communicates comfort. People tend to feel more secure with what they know and what they can anticipate.

By using a replicable sales process and creating a local brand like McDonalds and a product like the Big Mac you can start to gain trust with customers and potential customers so that they feel secure with your recommendations.  Best summed up with this comment: “People don’t buy because what you do is awesome. People buy because it makes them feel awesome” – Tara Gentile

Until next week, good selling!

About the author 

Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in direct sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in helping SME’s market their businesses more effectively and providing training for salespeople and sales managers.

He can be contacted at [email protected]