It doesn’t matter if you’re selling the best product on the market if you can’t tell a prospect exactly how that product will benefit them. It’s not enough to tell them everything it does. “It slices! It dices! It makes perfect coffee!” That’s the mistake most reps make. Why? Because the features – the slicing, the dicing, the perfect coffee – are only half of the product presentation equation.
Understanding The Difference Between Features and Benefits
Slicing, dicing, and perfect coffee are the features of the product. They are what the product does. To the rep, who spends day in and day out with his product, what those features mean to the end-user tends to seem very obvious. Still, the fact is that the customer doesn’t know the product like you, the rep, know the product. You, the rep, are also asking the customer to absorb a huge amount of information in a short period of time about something which may, or may not, even be very interesting to them. You have to catch the customer’s attention with what that feature will do for them – the benefit to them.
One of the ways intermediaries create value is to highlight the benefits of a product to potential customers
Features and benefits should always be paired. “It slices,” (feature) “so you can make excellent home-cooked french fries if you want” (benefit). “It dices,” (feature), “and what this will do for you is make sure you don’t ever have to tear up while cutting an onion again” (benefit). “It makes perfect coffee. Didn’t you mention you loved coffee? It’s hard to get coffee, just right, isn’t it? This will get it right for you.”
You can be sure you’re doing this by watching the transition statements. If you are just listing a bunch of features, it will sound very staccato. You’ll be saying things like, “It has all-wheel drive. Anti-lock breaks. Very comfy seats.”
Properly displaying the features and benefits of your product means you have to put a little thought into it. You have to sit down and ask yourself what all these bells and whistles really mean. Then? You have to communicate it to your customer. Watch for these transitions to ensure you really are communicating:
“It has all-wheel drive, which means you’ll be able to take this car up tougher terrain than a normal vehicle.”
“The car comes with anti-lock breaks. What these do for you is ensure you and your family’s safety by making sure that your breaks don’t catch on you at a crucial moment.”
“Do you see these seats? Aren’t they comfortable? Don’t you deserve a smooth, luxurious drive like this one?”
This keeps you from droning on. You’re not just waxing poems about your product now; you are directly tuning into your prospect’s wants, needs, desires. You’re bringing it back to the prospect with every sentence out of your mouth. You’re making it about the prospect with every sentence out of your mouth.
The real value of marketing information lies in how it is used to shape the consumer’s perception
It is important to research the likely desires and needs of potential customers. This type of information can help sales representatives direct their efforts towards building value for the product from the consumer’s point of view. After all, if the potential customer does not value the product, they are unlikely to spend any money on it. Consumer purchasing behavior tells us that people will only buy something that they perceive to be beneficial, even if the truth is far from that. So focus on the benefits of your products if you want to make more sales.