Today’s discussion will be “what you think your customers want to hear versus what they really do want to hear;” in other words, features and benefits.
Features versus Benefits
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, no matter what business you’re in – you offer something and most people confuse features and benefits of their product and they don’t really get what the benefits are because they think the feature is the benefit; often the two is confused. The way to distinguish them is to ask yourself “so what?” In marketing we say, people are very selfish – they only buy when you can solve a problem – what they want to hear is “what does it do for me?” When we assume that our customers want to hear all the feature of what we offer – we’re assuming they have knowledge of our industry but really what they want to hear is the benefits of what we have to offer. For instance, if asked to sell a pencil many persons would say it is made of lead, and it’s wood and it has an eraser on it – all those are the features; but to sell the benefits you would say it’s easy to hold so it makes it easy to write in cursive, you can write a personal letter and connect with people on a whole other level and if you make a mistake you can erase it. The features are of interest in a longer description page if someone wants to look up and get more information but in your emails and your posts on social media – anything you’re writing – you want to focus on the benefits and that’s the critical part to learn.
Why do you need to sell benefits?
Everyone will clearly understand why they need to buy what you have to offer – you would have answered the “so what?” The benefits can be sold without giving any technical knowledge of the industry or even telling one feature of the product. Companies like Apple have been very successful in selling benefits to their customers – for instance, when they introduced the iPod; everyone else was selling mp3 players that contained 8mb, 32mb or 64mb and what Apple did when they launched the iPod said “put a thousand songs in your pocket.” It was sold on the benefit without any technical information about the industry.
Are more people getting this right?
The ones getting it right are most successful; most small entrepreneurs don’t know the difference. Most persons will say “everybody should know this,” but no, if you went back in time before you learned it – that is where your customer is, they don’t have the technical knowledge of your industry so tell them how you benefit them – how you address top of mind problems, how you solve their problems. Selling the benefits of your product is not bragging – you’re just saying to people what you have that is beneficial.
What do you promote?
Make a list of all the features of your products and then list the benefits of all those features; mix it up, pick your favorites and that’s what you should promote.