People buy benefits, not features
How many times have you been confused by a technical sales pitch that focuses on features rather than benefits? You will see it in a lot of places – the high street electrical goods retailers, car show rooms and elsewhere – a focus on pixels; screen size; acceleration; etc. In technical products, such as electronic components, datasheets are often totally bereft of benefits, leading the buyer to wonder what will the product do for him or her.
People generally buy a product or service for emotional reasons and justify the purchase using logic. The buyer loves the comfort or the lines of a certain car, but tells everyone that it has great fuel economy or safety features! People do not look for features (what something is) – they look for benefits (what it can do for them).
Bob Burg and John David Mann (in Go-Givers Sell More) define features and benefits as follows:
- Features are answers to the question “What?”
- Benefits are answers to the question “Why?”
What does that mean for me?
You can’t bore people into buying from you. Instead, you have to lead your customer to a new state: tell them stories or illustrate a picture of what it will be like to own that product (the benefits). Don’t bore them to death by PowerPoint!
Focus in on what your product can do for your customer. Shift your focus from the datasheet or the technical specification (your feature set) to the customer and his or her problem or interest. Take a piece of paper and brainstorm the benefits of your business and your product or service.
Idea: take a packet of index cards. On one side, write down a feature. On the other side, write down a corresponding benefit – there may be more than one benefit for each feature, so use several cards. When you have exhausted your ideas, group the benefits and use them to create your sales presentation.
Remember that every customer is unique and knowing anything about your customer is better than knowing everything about your product! Some people might value a spirit of adventure, whereas another may value safety and security more highly. Focus in on the values, opinions and beliefs of your customer so that, when you talk about the benefits, the customer thinks “that’s me” and wants to buy. The why (benefits) conversation goes deep into the other person’s values, wants and desires. Why conversations are when real connections are made!