Features and Benefits – a Tried and True Sales Approach


features and benefitsFeatures and Benefits is another good sales approach, when used correctly. One of several we have been featuring in some of our blogs.

You or your sales people should know these tried and true sales approaches, so should your copywriters and the people who are responsible for your online and offline marketing activities.

First a question: What do you respond to best when you are contemplating acquiring a new product or engaging someone’s services – a canned sales pitch or someone just talking or writing honestly and making valid points about why their products or service are ideal for what you are looking for?

I don’t know about you, but I am tired of sales pitches where the person trying to sell you something or get you to do something is pretending they really give a hoot about you, when you know damn well, they don’t.

Case in point: The other day I received a pitch in an email that contained this statement: “After all, you are one of our favorite people!”

I didn’t know this guy from Adam!  It came across as very “oily” and fake.  He was presuming a familiarity and attempting to imbue a feeling of closeness where neither one existed. Rather than being enticed to do what he/they were wanting me to do, I just bleeped out the email.

Now I have nothing against people wanting to sell me something if it is something I can actually use or need or I’m interested in and find valuable.  In other words, if there is some definite benefit or advantage for me if I purchase what they are offering.  Something that will make my job, my life, my hobby – whatever – easier or simply more enjoyable.

And I don’t mind them asking or telling me to “buy now” or giving me some other call to action – not when I have a want or need or interest in what they are offering, and their presentation is well thought out and to the point.

Okay, got that off my chest…

features and benefitsFeatures and Benefits – What Are You REALLY Selling?

This is a tried and true, classic sales approach that works over and over again. That’s because it appeals to basic human nature which rarely changes at its core.

Most consumers when they buy something are more interested in the BENEFITS it will bring them than they are in its actual features. They want the benefits those features will give them. That is what they are really buying. (Non-professional buyers and product enthusiasts the possible exceptions.)

For instance, do most women really care what’s under the hood of their car? Or are they more interested in it being comfortable, safe, economical, reliable, better for the environment and attractive?

Yes, it’s a car’s features that can make those benefits possible and the consumer definitely gets that. But she is going to be buying into the benefits provided by the car, not just its features. So a car salesman who just rambles on about the features of a particular car and doesn’t point out the benefits or advantages those features give his prospective customer should, at the very least, be retrained.

(Note: In some cases, a person is buying image and/or status (think Rolls Royce, Bentley, etc.) but that’s for another blog article.)

In a Features and Benefits sales approach you translate product or service features (the logical stuff) into human benefits (emotional appeal).

Here’s a simple, quick example of a sales clerk wanting to sell a particular brand and model of a smartphone to a prospective customer:

“This device has the latest technology available (feature), so you know it’s going to work smoothly, quickly and reliably (benefits), and it won’t be outdated soon like so many phones are! (benefit)

“Because it is so lightweight (feature) and has a good ergonomic design (feature), it is very comfortable to hold in your hand. (benefit). And it has the highest resolution of any phone on the market right now (feature)… so when you look at pictures or videos they are crystal clear (benefit).

“And look at its overall design (feature)… it’s a very attractive looking phone (benefit), and it is priced very competitively (implied benefit), especially when you consider all of its features.”
“Here…. try it out”.

This is a smart salesperson because he is showing how the phone’s features provide the benefits the customer would want, plus he gets his customer involved  with the product. Does that guarantee the sale? Of course not, but it sure increases the odds for a successful sales transaction.

Well then, why not just mention the benefits and skip features?

In quite a few cases you could do just that. But features often make the benefits more believable, more grounded in reality. With practice, you will learn how to weave these two aspects together naturally and conversationally into your presentations.

In summary, when you are marketing, selling or giving presentations about your products or services, remember to emphasize the benefits  those products or services provide the market you are targeting. Not just their features.

The benefits are what get your prospective customers emotionally interested and more involved.

Written by Bob Nelson

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to RESULTS PROFESSIONAL MARKETING and a clickable link back to this page.

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