12 Sep 2016

Features, Advantages, Benefits

Over the years I have attended many sales courses that have centred around ‘Selling the Benefits.’ Many of the attendees have rushed out to their unsuspecting clients with this new mantra, only to fall at the first hurdle.

It is important to understand the differences between features, advantages and benefits.

Features are facts or characteristics about a product or service. Advantagesare statements which show how a product or service can be used but are not directly linked to a specific customer need. Benefits are statements which show explicitly how your products or services meet the needs of the customer.

Many sales people fail because they simply memorise the advantages of their product and relentlessly deliver these to the prospect. Until they fully understand what it is the prospect actually needs, everything their product has to offer is merely a feature. Few successful sales businesses have been built on product features.

Indeed a sales person that skillfully delivers all of the benefits to their prospect, without first gleaning from their prospect what they need, is doomed to fail in the long term.

There are four basic types of benefits: 

  1. productivity increases
  2. increasing revenue 
  3. reducing costs
  4. enhancing image.

The key is to use good questions to find out the importance of any of these benefits to the prospect. Once you have found the key benefit type, by asking more in-depth questions agreement can quickly be made that the primary features of your product are indeed a benefit, and some of the minor features are an advantage also.

Remember: Ensure benefit statements are relevant to the customer, and their specific need, otherwise they are of no value.