When you’re promoting a product or service it’s all too easy to get caught up focusing on features rather than benefits.
“Feature” is defined by dictionary.com as “a prominent or conspicuous part or characteristic”, this definition points to the main reason we find ourselves focused on it – it’s front of mind and easy to pinpoint. However, a feature is what your product or service enables your client to do, not the outcome they get from doing it – the benefit.
The benefit is the reason your client will buy your product or service.
Whilst everyone’s needs are different the reasons people buy can generally be grouped into one of the following areas:
When you’re selling, you want the potential buyer to be able to clearly see how your product will satisfy their need or fix their problem and where it fits into their buying drivers. The benefits of a feature can be determined by putting yourself in their shoes and asking the “so what” and “who cares” questions.
“What’s in it for me?”
“Why do I care?”
“What’s good about that?”
If you’re struggling to identify the benefits for the buyer try this method.
Identify the features of your product and think about the target market – what problem are they wanting to solve or need do they have?
With your target market, or a specific client, in mind state the feature and then ask yourself what that means for them, each time you answer the question of what it means to them drill down further with another “so what” question until you get down to the benefit that meets a reason to buy.
For example, imagine Popeye is the target audience, spinach is the product. The feature of spinach is that it makes you strong which means that you can fight off the bad guys (protection) which means that you look like a hero (earn praise) which means that you win the heart of Olive Oyl (attract the opposite sex).
Another example, say the product is an online accounting package and the feature is an automatic invoice reminder. The automatic reminder sends out an email to clients with invoices due in 1 day (let’s say) which mean that you don’t need to check which clients have payments due and send them a reminder (save time) which also means that the client is reminded to pay their bill on time (make money/prevent losing money).
Benefits will vary depending on the target market, so run through the questioning technique for each group. Once you’ve identified the benefits you can hone these into marketing copy, sales pitches and client conversations.
The more you know about the client the more accurately you will be able to answer the so what questions and identify the benefits that will deliver value to them.
So, next time you’re promoting a product, make sure to focus on the ability to get the girl, not on eating the spinach.
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