Let’s be blunt: most prospects are not necessarily any more interested in your product or service per se than you are in Bulgarian politics – until, that is, one of them has a tangible impact on either of your lives: the point is not to concentrate on the features to such an extent that you neglect to translate them into buying motives.
Nevertheless, it’s good to have a clear understanding the differences between features, advantages and benefits.
Features are the set, objective facts or characteristics of your product or service that remain the same whether the prospect buys or not.
Advantages are statements about what product or service can do or the function it performs but, as they are not directly linked to a specific customer need, they are far from being the whole story.
Benefits are statements which explicitly demonstrate how your products or service meets the needs of the prospect -describe the individual value the advantage has for this particular prospect as defined by his unique goals and priorities. The key is to focus on the selected features that offer a clear advantage to your prospect and link them his objectives, making the benefits crystal clear.
The more you can personalise the ‘benefit’ to appeal to your customer and tailor your message so it relates to his explicit needs, the more powerful the sales pitch. Get to your customer’s needs directly by asking questions about their problems, probing the potential effects and implications of using (or not) your product or service – which benefits are they looking for specifically?
This will allow you to step into the prospect’s shoes and gain insight into his specific, explicit needs and those areas that would produce genuine benefit -ask yourself as the client what’s in it for me? The focus of your communication should be on how your product or service can solve, address or improve on the areas of difficulty that the prospect outlined.
Your customers might want to know features, so that they can see what’s included in the price, but it’s the benefits that actually sell your product or service. Develop every product feature into a tangible benefit, an end result that satisfies a customer problem or need.
o Feature and advantage statements are useful in selling low value or transactional products/services, but ineffective with high value, complex sales.
o Benefit statements have a positively impact on the outcome of high value, complex sales.
o Only benefit statements which are directly relevant to the customer are of value.
o Benefit statements must address a specific need to be of value.
o The four types of benefits are: productivity gains, increasing revenue; reducing costs and enhancing image.