sales and marketing

Sell the Benefits, NOT the Features

I recently evaluated a website for a prospect who signed up for my 3 free tips offer, and my first suggestion was one of the most fundamental principles of sales and marketing that most companies ignore. At the top of their homepage, in a large headline font, they wrote a description of what they do.  In their case it was something like We Do Management Consulting.

Granted, it’s important to tell prospects what product or service you’re offering, but you need to do it in a way that persuades them to buy. The way to do that is to sell them the benefits that they will get from you or your product.

Let’s stay with our management consulting example. You might produce awesome spreadsheets, incredible analysis and kick-butt reports. But does your client want all that?

Companies that hire management consultants are looking for specific benefits, like increasing efficiency, decreasing waste, improving profitability and so on. They want those benefits and could really care less about the techniques you use to get them their benefits.

Web design clients don’t care about the software you use or your advanced project management tools. They want a website that is going to help them grow their business. Accounting clients don’t want to know the details. They want to pay less taxes.

You ever wonder why ads for sports cars usually include beautiful women? When a 32 yr. old man considers buying one of them, he isn’t thinking about the gas milage efficiency or time it takes to get from 0 to 50 or any of that other cool stuff. What he IS thinking about is pulling up next to a Victoria Secrets model in his brand new Corvette, top down, and saying, “Hey, want a ride”… and she does (hey, it’s his fantasy).

The benefit of the car in his mind is that it can help him attract beautiful women. As they say, “sex sells”.

People have little interest in purchasing a bed. What they want is a good night’s sleep. — source

Whatever it is you’re selling, you need to identify the benefits of your product or service and present that to your customer instead of just listing your features (as awesome as they might be).

There are countless productivity tools on the market that help you do everything, from scheduling your social media posts to getting the weather when you first wake up. The only ones that I’ll even consider paying for are those that offer me a very tangible benefit that impacts me in a meaningful way.

If you tell me you can save me a little time or make my existing tasks a bit easier, I’m probably not gonna bite no matter how cool your features are. But if you promise to save me hours of time per week or get me something that I could not otherwise find, them you’ve got my attention.

For business buyers, you’re stressing “bottom line” benefits from innovative features. If you can demonstrate that the prospect will be a hero because your CRM product will save her company $120,000 a year compared to the current choice, you’ve got an excellent shot. — Copyblogger

Features are important to support your benefit claims. Once you make your claim, you’ll most likely need to be able to explain how you’ll achieve. That’s the point where you want to highlight your features.

No Fakes

When you do offer a benefit, make sure it’s a real one.

Direct response copywriter Clayton Makepeace asserts that fake benefits will kill sales copy, so you have to be on the lookout for them in your writing. He uses this headline as an example:

“Balance Blood Sugar Levels Naturally!”

That sounds pretty beneficial, doesn’t it? In reality, there’s not a single real benefit in the headline. — Copyblogger

People don’t really care about “balancing their sugar levels”. They DO care about avoiding all the illness and hardship that results from unregulated diabetes.

Bottom Line

When you’re trying to sell something, make sure to identify and then emphasis the benefits of your product and service. Don’t just highlight the features.

Sell the Benefits, NOT the Features.

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