The Real Differences between Features and Benefits
If you’re a little confused at this point, then have heart, many salespeople can’t distinguish between a feature or benefit either. And because of this confusion, many presenters have a tendency to focus on the features, even though their customers only want to hear about the benefits.
The art of winning business is to know how to provide a better match between a feature and benefit the customer seeks, and those the company can provide through its products or services. Watch them work and you’ll hear them say, this suit is pure wool, this car is fitted with air conditioning, or this camera has a shutter speed of one 2000th of a second. All they’re doing is passing on features, features, features, when all the prospect wants is benefits, benefits, benefits.
The reason that person walked into the showroom in the first place was buy benefits. And benefits are the reason that prospect cares about those features in the first place. How often have you walked into computer store just to walk out confused and more reluctant to buy something than when you walked in.
Chances are they walked you through the product features – not benefits. Because these people are technically minded, they simply assume their prospect has enough knowledge to identify the benefits when told about the features.
I now understand what they say when its a HP Beats All-in-one – 23-n100a, Intel Core Processori5-4460T (6MB cache, 4 cores) WINDOWS 8.1 64, Intel HD Graphics, 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3L (1 x 8 GB) I TB 5400 rpm SATS SSHD Surely it would be better to tell it has all of the specifications and memory needed to take on my most complicated task with easy, and a monitor that won’t hurt my eyes – then ask if I wanted the specifications or if I’d prefer to have the benefit and technical aspect of each feature explained in more detail. Otherwise, all that person may be giving me is a lot of off-putting jargon.
When I bought my first computer, more than 25 years ago I rang shop after shop until I met a man who could talk to me without frightening me. I drove over 40 kilometres, purchase a machine too powerful for my needs and paid too much simply because he told me that this computer had more built-in memory than I could fill in my lifetime. It had 32 Mb – huge memory at the time, in fact so big, a few of my accountant friends came over to ‘try out’ my super memory computer. Now compare that with what you get today.
For most customers, selling features only is insufficiently persuasive. Those intellectually appealing aspects need to be changed into arousing, emotive benefits.
How to Convert your Product or Service Benefits into Relevant Prospect Benefits
Not every benefit is relevant to every prospect in all circumstances. As the needs and wants of the consumers change, so do the benefits they look for.
There are three basic ones you should be aware of:
(a) Broad Benefit. This is the most obvious benefit that comes to mind. Telephones offer instant communication. Mobile phones offer the same communication, but on a portable basis. It’s the standard benefit; the most accepted benefit.
(b) Double Benefit. Two standard benefits can be linked together. Your mobile phone can be made to divert to any other phone even when you’re talking to someone else or have the phone switched off.
(c) Chained benefit. Two or more benefits can be linked together by the use of the phrase, “Which means that”. If for whatever reason you drive out of the mobile phone range or hit a flat spot your phone will automatically divert if it’s been pre-coded to do so, which means that you won’t ever lose an incoming call, and when back in range you can simply call the diverted number and retrieve your messages.
The, “Which means that” phrase can be used over and over as often as needed in any phrase.
However, often the full value of the benefits you have to offer can only be gleamed after a lot of careful research, rehearsal and role play on your part. Anything less will mean you are probably not prepared well enough to do your product justice, and give the prospect what they want from a product or service.
A Great Prospect Benefit is always to Provide Good Value at a Fair Price
Your prospects and customers alike are always on the lookout for affordable price on every piece of merchandise or service they consider – but they also want a certain standard of quality for the price they pay.
In today’s exhaustive market, the consumer is better educated and only a fool would want the best possible quality at budget prices. The key then is to market merchandise that represents a good value investment.
The old saying, “No-one remembers the price when the goods they bought don’t live up to their expectations” rings true in every instance when comparing price with quality. As a measurable commodity, value can generally be determined by providing the consumer with the right combination of quality, features and price.
A second school of thought suggests that in future, value will be based less on price and more on other dimensions. Value marketing was originally about getting the price back into line in order to create a relationship between quality and price. The future trends in value are expected to dimensions like situation, time and stress.
Another consideration is, if you’re a shopper who lacks knowledge about a certain product, you’ll probably pay a premium to find someone who knows what they’re talking about – even for low end merchandise. In this case, the shoppers’ value factor related to the advice received. Therefore, be prepared to shift your understanding of what consumers consider to be of value – especially over the next decade or so.
And one more Hint – Brush-up on Your Personal Selling Skills
Before and after work and on weekends, read everything there is to read about selling. Go to trade shows, read the trade magazines, spend time talking to the people you do business with about their business and the people they buy from.
Then for the next day, week and month take some personal ownership in your present sales effort and your selling results. Now translate that that to your overall effort. It’s all about personal accountability, isn’t it?
And don’t ever confuse wishes with wants. When you want a thing you go out and get it. When you merely wish for something, you wait for it to come.
Copy and distribute this content as often as you want. You are encouraged to share it. © Copyright Peter Collins, Sydney, Australia, 2002, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2017
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This Article is by Peter Collins – In a sales career spanning more than 53 years, Peter Collins has focused on helping and bringing out the best in others – whether it involves training or mentoring salespeople, managers, business consulting to SME’s. Since the 1970’s Peter has built a reputation as a Nationally and Internationally Published author, and has 68 business books to his credit, but he is mainly known for one book based on the Audio Tape series of the same name, Over 50 Ways of Closing the Sale. Peter had his first book published in 1969 and now has over 133 books in all, including Business, Marketing, Sales, Free Publicity, Body Language, Music and over 30 Christian books to date. Peters books have sold over 2.5 Million copies of his books over 49 years. In his personal life, Peter has been sought after as an encourager and motivator that has given of his time and talents freely despite his busy schedule. Subsequently, he has assisted churches, pastors, community and charity groups, as well as individuals through his teaching, training, development and on-going mentoring.
© Copyright Peter Collins, Profit Maker Sales, Sydney, Australia, 1994, 2002, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2017, all rights reserved. Peter can be contacted through his website – profitmakersales.com
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