Increasing Impact with Features and Benefits
Do you feel like potential clients don’t always understand how great your offering is? Then this article will be a quick win for you!
Having helped hundreds of companies significantly increase their growth, I’ve found that some simple tweaks to how you talk about your product makes a huge difference in how it resonantes with customers.
Here’s the simplest way to get started on this easy change: by understanding “features” vs “benefits.”
“Features” describe the product or service and what it does. For example:
- Diet Coke has 0 calories
- The new iPad has a retina display
- Our movers pack your belongings carefully
“Benefits” show which of the customer’s needs will be met. For example:
- You won’t gain weight when you drink Diet Coke
- Movies look more lifelike on the new iPad
- Your stuff won’t break during the move!
Benefits are much more powerful, because they tell the customer exactly why it matters. The benefit answers the “so what?” It speaks in the customer’s language, rather than in your language. So it motivates them more strongly to buy.
BUT — right now I’d bet you’re talking mainly about features. You see, we’re so eager to share how awesome we are, that we talk too much about ourselves. We talk about our process, our experience, our secret sauce.
Sometimes you might think, “Well the benefit is obvious!” True, people can connect the dots–0 calories means it’s better for my diet. However, you have your customer’s attention for a very brief time. Don’t make them do this extra work! Connect the dots for them, so they are sure to see the benefit of what you’re offering.
A problem I see very often comes because people are such experts in their field. They understand so intuitively the relationship between feature & benefit, that they forget that it is less clear to a customer. To a car dealer, the benefit of the 3 liter engine vs the 2 liter engine is obvious. He often forgets to tell the customer, “It’s more fun to drive!” A camping store saleswoman loves the waterproof boots. Did she mention that “your feet stay dry and warm”?
Service businesses have features & benefits too. Can you think of the benefits for these features?
- Our flight attendants are fun and friendly.
- Our doctors went to top medical schools.
- Our dry cleaning is done on site.
1Look at your marketing materials (website, brochures, etc.) and the way you and your team talk to customers. Identify which of the statements are about features, and try to rewrite them in a way that emphasizes the benefit.
2Organize your thinking for each of your products or services. Use the simple two-column format below. Each feature should have one or more benefits. First write down everything you can think of. Then come back and circle the three most important benefits. This is the place to focus your marketing and sales messages!
- 3 liter engine
- Side-impact air bags
- 30 miles per gallon
- More fun to drive
- Protects your family in a crash
- Never get lost
- Spend less money on gas
What do you think?
Let me know what you are going to do to focus more on benefits. Post your thoughts and plans as a reply below!