Features and Benefits
If you’ve been in sales for a while then you’ll be completely aware of the importance of highlighting benefits when demonstrating how your products/services can fulfil each of the customer’s requirements.
Fundamentally a benefit is only a benefit once it matches the customer’s requirements. Think about it for a moment. Let’s suppose you wanted to buy a house and had a good amount of money to spend. Your absolute passion was to live in the countryside with acres of land so that you could wake up each morning to the birds singing their dawn chorus. You wouldn’t be remotely interested in a flash city apartment that was a real bargain, even if this apartment boasted of spectacular views over the city, the latest hi tech heating and sound system and 24 hour security. No matter how appealing the Real Estate Agent tried to make this apartment, it’s benefits would fall on deaf ears because they aren’t in alignment with your own specific requirements.
What’s the difference between a feature and a benefit?
● Feature = a characteristic of your products/services
● Benefit = the advantage that it brings to the customer
For example, one feature of a car might be the inclusion of airbags, the benefit of this feature being, the enhancement of passenger safety. If passenger safety is important to a particular customer then this will be a great benefit to highlight. Alternatively, if the customer is looking for an exciting ride and engine power, passenger safety is probably not going to be a hugely appealing benefit. Customers aren’t simply buying a product/service, they’re buying the benefits offered by that product/service that are aligned to their own needs and desires. When you emphasise benefits aligned to their requirements, you appeal directly to the customer’s personal and business motives. So, if you want to gain real competitive advantage, master the skill of presenting your products/services in a way that highlights how they match each customer’s specific requirements. Here’s how:
1 re-cap and summarise the customer’s requirements
Example: “You mentioned that you were looking for safety,
reliability, fuel economy and value for money.”
2 take each requirement and link to a relevant feature of your
Example: “Taking your requirement for safety, a major feature of
this car is the inclusion of a complete airbag system.”
3 then highlight the benefits gained from each feature
Example: “This enhances safety for every passenger and the driver.”
To help sales people learn this particular technique so they can use it with minimal preparation, it’s vitally important that they are fully aware of the potential benefits that every feature of their product or service can deliver. This expands their flexibility so that they become better equipped to ‘pick and mix’ what features and benefits will have greater leverage with each of their customers.