Features are something a product or service has or does. It is a characteristic of product or service which is measurable. While Features are factual and convey advantages of product or service, they don’t communicate its importance of how it helps customers. It doesn’t mean that features are not important; it’s good if customers knew the basic features of product or service. It helps them to compare with another.
While marketing to customers, features alone won’t necessarily make sales; it’s the benefits of those features which come into play. Benefits are something that have value or usefulness. It explains what the feature means and why it is important to the person, you’re communicating with.
In general every feature has its benefits, but they are not always obvious. The customer’s requirements vary which changes the benefits of features accordingly also. In selling, there are two ways of making sales
- Selling by Features – Giving INFORMATION
- Selling by Benefits – Providing INSIGHT
Selling by features is a common scenario in selling (particularly in retail). Here the sales person showcases the virtues of the product they are selling by demonstrating the assorted features that it has. The products with the relevant features that satisfy customers’ needs are sold easily, while others are ignored. Extra features are also ignored when customers narrow down their requirements to certain features only.
A big problem with this is that the customer might not appreciate what is being said. Another variant of the features trap is when the customer comes in with a checklist of the features that they want. Anything that does not have all features is immediately rejected.
Selling by benefits focuses on what the customer gains by using the product. Selling on benefits thus sells to what they really want, not what they say they want or what you want to sell. With benefits, you can get them excited and emotionally engaged. With features, you can only get nodding heads and logical agreement. Features, when discussed can also be talked about in terms of benefits.
Is this a feature or a benefit? Does this show the customer why it’s important? It may seem confusing. Which customer wouldn’t want a product to be long-lasting, right? It must be a benefit. No, this is a feature. It tells the customer about the product, but doesn’t tell them why it should matter to them. Perhaps those quality, long-lasting, durable materials will save them money or time, or help them preserve something important. But customers always look for the benefits of the features which solve their problems. Selling always depends on customers need and demands. In other words selling for what they really want instead of what they have already.
Hence, remember customers always seek benefits, though they are claiming to look for a certain feature, the benefit of that feature actually solves their pain.
Our job in sales is to first understand that customer’s area of pain / problem through a process called probing. Then identify features from our product offering that could potentially solve his problem. Finally we must showcase or demonstrate how selected features can turn into benefits that the customer is looking at to cater to his area of concern. This in essence is the shortest distance to a sale.
Happy Selling !!!
Sales Maximizer / Success Coach, Trans4m Training & Consulting Solutions
Regional head @ ICICI Prudential
Gopal is speaking at the AddA on FEB 11..event details