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Looking Ahead

When you’re speaking with people about your business be sure to talk about the features and benefits of your product/service. 

Benefits...

 

are the reasons customers buy the product or service. For example, the benefits of some ovens to buyers include safety, ease of use, affordability, or, in the case of many ovens that feature stainless steel casings, prestige. 

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Features...

 

are characteristics that your product or service does or has. For example, some ovens include features such as self-cleaning, smooth stovetops, warming bins, or convection capabilities. 

Every product or service has a purpose. For example, the purpose of an oven is to bake raw food, but not all ovens have the same features and benefits.

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Ask Yourself

How would your customers answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” 

Case Study

Just like products, services differ from one another in having distinctive features and benefits, though these differences may not always be so obvious to potential customers.

Jake had been marketing to building contractors for over a year. He received some business, but the competition was fierce. Most building contractors would use whoever they can find to do the job at the lowest rate. One day, he received a call from a real estate agent who needed a house painted for a quick sell. He agreed to take on the job, and found there was far less competition within the real estate industry, basically due to it being a less obvious marketing choice. Jake decided to change his marketing strategy and target only real estate agents where he could highlight his unique skills: anyone can paint, but hiring him, an experienced painter (a feature), produces a better-looking paint job (a definite benefit).

The uniqueness of a product or service can set it apart from the competition. Features can communicate the capability of a product or service. But features are only valuable if customers see those particular features as valuable. You want products or services with features which customers perceive as valuable benefits. By highlighting benefits in marketing and sales efforts, you’ll increase your sales and profits.

Part of sales training is to learn how to clearly explain and sell benefits, so that price is not a major determining factor.

Perceived benefits are what make customers buy your product or service. People buy based on the feeling(s) that each feature will generate. Experienced painters makes customers feel confident in making a decision about whether or not to hire the contractor (confident is the benefit)

What’s in It for Me? 

It’s important to remember that customers buy products and services because they want to solve a problem or meet a need. Consciously or unconsciously, your customers will always be asking the question, “What’s in it for me?” Your product and service offerings have to deliver solutions and satisfy needs, or they won’t be successful.

Given that benefits are ultimately more important to your customers than features, it is imperative that you understand the benefits your products and services provide, emphasize these benefits in your sales efforts, and update your products and services when new or additional benefits are desired by your customers.

Tip: Make sure to validate that what you are thinking of as features and benefits are genuinely valuable to your customers and are solving problems that your customers actually have.