“Features” or “Benefits”… How To Get the Most From Your Sales Messages

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If you’ve been around the sales or marketing arenas for any length of time, you’ve no-doubt heard the discussion about features and benefits. The idea is that people don’t want want, or won’t buy the features of a product… they are only interested in the benefits… what the product will do for them.

The argument sounds reasonable enough… at least on the surface. But there’s more to it than that… at least if you want to enjoy the greatest results from your sales messages.

When describing the short piece that’s attached to the top part of the pen, ask people what it is. Most will say that it’s a clip. That’s the feature. Then ask them what the benefit is. Most will tell you that it holds the pen in your pocket. While it’s true that the clip does hold the pen in your pocket, that’s not the benefit… it’s the function.

Here’s a quick 4-step formula to help you create a more impactful sales message. When describing a product or service and the reason or reasons someone should buy it (or at least have them request more information about it to help facilitate the buying decision)… think:

  • Feature – what is it?
  • Function – what does it do?
  • Benefit – so what?
  • Proof – prove it!

UsingĀ the ballpoint pen as an example, consider these four steps:

  • What is it? (feature) – It’s a clip.
  • What does it do? (function) – Holds it in your pocket.
  • So what? (benefit) – So it doesn’t fall out when you bend over, or so you know exactly where it is when you need it.
  • Prove it! (proof) – “Here, put it in your pocket and bend over. Notice that it’s still where you put it.” Or “Put it in your pocket, close your eyes and see if you can find it. It’s right where you put it.”

You can use this formula with any product or serve. With every sales message or sales presentation, be sure not to confuse the benefit with the function… at least if you want to dramatically improve your sales.

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