(678) 952-1066info@teamechoes.comA Unique Full Service Sales and Training Resource

You’re Doing It Wrong!

Home / Articles / You’re Doing It Wrong!

You’re Doing It Wrong!

How to Sell Features and Benefits

The most repeated sales advice on the planet: sell benefits not features.

I like to think about the persuasive content of what I say, and benefits are simply more persuasive than features. Despite being so widely suggested, emphasizing benefits over features is something that most sales people are terrible at, and that’s when they even try, which is not very often. Why is this neglected so much?

Because it’s just easier to talk about features. It’s the first thing you learn at a new job. And if you happen to have built the product, you can cite every feature backwards, and give a lengthy report on every technology choice you made.

Congratulations, you have the power to make eyes glaze.

Talking about benefits requires empathy and imagination and a fair amount of mental work. Talking about features is safe, and most people never venture out of the fort. But it’s weak. It has low persuasive content.

I was shopping a few years ago for a new mattress since my ten-year-old inner-spring futon had actually enrolled in a night course in torture. I was considering one option and read everything on the manufacturer’s website and did research for a couple of days. I knew the dimensions, and the difference between a pillow top and a plush top, how many coils it had, how likely it was to sag, and that it was branded for various upscale hotels. I was still thinking all this over when a friend told me, “I slept on one of those for a week. Best bed I ever slept in. Best sleep I ever got.”

Features allay fears, they do not persuade.

I bought it the next day. Done. All I needed was a trusted voice to tell me how I was going to benefit from it.

Never underestimate the power of an additional voice.

I definitely needed to know about the features to satisfy certain minimal concerns, but by themselves features allay fears, they do not persuade.

Features get you to zero, benefits move you beyond.

Features and benefits, however, are very tightly entwined, and so if you’re talking about a benefit, it’s usually not off by itself divorced from an actual feature conversation.

Just the other day a friend on an old version of Salesforce said, “I’m required to send these reports to my executives. I have to query the database to get the data I want, then put it into Excel, add some commentary, and then send it along. It’s a painful process.”

A “features” answer to this statement would be, “You should upgrade your Salesforce version since they now export to Excel.” That’s an OK answer as far as it goes, but it’s not nearly as good as a benefits answer which might go like this,

“Salesforce now has an Excel export feature, so you can just do a search for the data you want, quickly add any additional columns of data you want to see from the drop-down menu, and then export that to Excel. You save that search for re-use of course. You can stop all of this manual querying and exporting, and you’ll save time. But you can take this further. Since you have to do this all the time, let’s skip the manual stuff altogether. Why not use the API to generate the reports you want and then have them automatically emailed to the people that need them each week? You can use these tools to take this job off your plate forever.”

Features allay fears, they do not persuade.

I talked about features all over the place in that answer, but I also helped him to see a picture of how his problem could go away if he used those features. That’s a benefit.

For a sales technique-combining bonus, if you responded to his original statement with the question, “How many hours a week do you spend on this report?” you could quantify his time savings for him over the course of a year–a substantial benefit.

Or, imagine for a moment that you sell shark cages for divers. There are a bunch of features you could talk about. The color is a beautiful silver. The hook system to get it in the water is easy to use. It can be folded up for easy storage. It’s welded by the world’s best welders. Good features.

But what you really care about is that you won’t get eaten by that sinister black-eyed bastard. That’s what really matters. That’s a benefit.

Focus and review your sales process to make sure it’s benefit driven, and you will sell more.

Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment

Buyer Delay ImageSmiley