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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Why Digital Marketing is Vital to a Successful B2B Sales Process

When you think of traditional business to business (B2B) selling, you probably think of salespeople making cold calls to dig up leads and convince them to try their product or service. While tradition sales prospecting techniques still have their place in the sales process, the latest research points in a different direction.

Research shows that up to 60-90% of decision-making in B2B is made before the decision-maker approaches the supplier:

“A CEB (Corporate Executive Board) study of more than 1,400 B2B customers found that those customers completed, on average, nearly 60% of a typical purchasing decision – researching solutions, ranking options, setting requirements, benchmarking pricing, and so on – before even having a conversation with a supplier.”

“SiriusDecisions reports that 70% of the buying process in a complex sale is already complete before prospects are willing to engage with a live salesperson”

“Two-thirds to 90% of the buying cycle is completed before a B2B buyer ever speaks with a sales rep.” – Forrester

“Business buyers spend just 21% of buying cycle in conversations with salespeople, instead spending 23% of the time in conversations with peers and colleagues and 56% of the buying cycle searching for and engaging with content” – IDG Connect

At the extreme, a buyer will get 90% of the way towards making a final decision on whether to purchase your product or service before speaking with a sales rep.

That’s great news for companies with effective digital marketing strategies. The more informative content you can give the potential buyer, the better your chance of making the sale before you even speak with him or her.

But you need great content, and you need your potential buyer to be able to find it. To do that you need your digital marketing to include:

1. Creating the right content that will inform and engage.

2. SEO – Optimizing that content for search engines to find.

3. Sharing that content on relevant social media platforms.

There’s still a role for a great salesperson who can build relationships and close deals. But the process of generating those leads has changed. Consumers want as much information as they can get to base their decisions on. And there’s plenty of information out there in the digital sphere for them to use.

To be successful, B2B companies need effective digital marketing strategies to create superior content and get it in front of their potential customers.