Today’s post is really crucial because it can actually alter the way you sell and market your products or services. Some of you may have heard this before if you’ve ever gone through any type of sales training. Even so, this could be a great reminder of what needs to happen in order for you to market and sell more effectively.
What I’m going to start with is the difference between features and benefits. The basic idea is that features tell and benefits sell. So we always want extra emphasis on the benefits. In fact, I would go one step further to say that selling is all about educating people on the benefits. Yes, we have to mention the features, and some prospects may ask about them in more detail, but we must try our best to direct their attention toward the benefits and explain what’s in it for them.
Let’s just use a residential alarm company as an example. Right now, there are some really cool apps out there that you can use to turn your alarm on or off remotely from your phone. You can be somewhere outside and still monitor your home from a distance. The app itself would be a feature. Oftentimes, salespeople tend to oversell the feature and explain all of its details. This is important, but benefits are even more so. In this case there are numerous benefits.
First, an app that controls your alarm system can be extremely convenient. Imagine if you’re away from home but want to set the alarm. Or, you’ve scheduled last-minute maid service, and with the app you can turn the alarm off without having to drive home to do it.
Also, the convenience factor leads to peace of mind, because now you don’t have to give out your alarm code to your maid or any other contractor. You can simply turn off the system remotely for them. Plus, when you leave the house in the morning, sometimes you’re in such a hurry that you might forget whether or not you armed your system. Well, now you can go to the app on your phone and check with a few clicks.
As you can see, you really want to highlight the benefits, which include peace of mind and convenience. These are the real selling points – what’s truly in it for the prospect.
But what do you do if people ask you about the features? Here’s what I suggest. You want to either emphasize the benefits first and then describe the features later, or create a bridge between features and benefits.
For the first method, you can say something like, “I’m excited to provide you a tool that’ll make your life so much more convenient, while also increasing your peace of mind. This tool is a mobile app on your phone that links directly to your alarm system.” Do you see how I emphasized the benefits first, and then followed up with a description of the feature?
The second method is creating a bridge between the features and benefits. You can say, “You’ll get access to a mobile app that links to your alarm system. What that means for you is it’s going to create convenience in your life, as well as give you extra peace of mind.” So you say the feature first, and then connect it to the benefits you want to emphasize.
But the reality is that if you only have 10 or 20 seconds available in a marketing commercial or sales pitch, it’s best to only talk about the benefits and ignore the features altogether. You should only mention features when you get into a longer conversation.
So I want to challenge you and your sales team to start emphasizing the benefits over features. Begin by making sure you are clear what the features and benefits are for each of your products or services. Create a game plan moving forward with these principles in mind. Go out and make it happen today.