Selling Features through Benefits

May 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Coaching, Copywriting, Sales Training

It’s the age-old conundrum. You have a business. It has some cool things about it – such as, it’s open 24-hours, has widgets in hundreds of colors or has the lowest prices – guaranteed. All these are great to know, but if that’s what you focus on in your business copy, the only sounds you’ll hear in your business will be crickets. No ringing phone, no email inbox dings. Nothing. If you focus on features, you won’t compel anyone to buy because no one buys on features. Remember – features tell, benefits sell.

That time worn phrase is likely repeated in every sales copywriting class. If you’re not able to help readers (I mean potential buyers) see the value of your product or service in what it can do for them, you’ll lose them after only a few sentences. Here’s something else to keep in mind:

People don’t want a ¼” drill; they want a ¼” hole.” ~ Theodore Levitt

But distinguishing features from benefits often instills angst and consternation because the differences may not be obvious. And it’s not just the newbie copywriters who get it wrong. Even seasoned marketers confuse features and benefits. Honestly, I think they might get a little bit lazy in their thinking. Writing about features is so much easier, after all.

If writing about features is easy, then thinking them up should be downright simplistic. Listing features is a great place to start because it gets your mind thinking about your product or service, and you will do a little magic with those features to *poof!* turn them into benefits.

How? By adding these two words after a feature statement – “which means…” leads you to the benefit statement. Let’s look at an example.

Product: Weight loss shakes

Feature Benefit
Comes in 3 delicious flavors which means… you don’t have to endure a yucky-tasting drink
Mixes with milk or water which means… you can adjust the product to fit your lifestyle
Replaces one meal per day which means… it’s not intrusive to use and is easy

It seems simple, right? The key to discovering why your customers and clients really buy from you is in how you utilize the “which means” as you filter through your features. It’s not enough to do it once as shown above. By repeating “which means” after each response, you’ll begin to drill down to the real reasons people use your product or service.

Take the first statement again: Comes in 3 delicious flavors which means you don’t have to endure a yucky-tasting drink which means you’ll be more likely to stick with the plan which means you’ll lose weight more quickly which means you’ll feel better sooner which means you’ll get healthier faster. Ergo – Comes in 3 delicious flavors which means you’ll get healthier faster.

By meeting customers in their space of need/want/desire versus telling them all the features that may or may not be important to them, you’ll reach not only their ears and hearts, but their pocketbooks as well…which means you’ll enjoy a larger payday and a bigger customer base.

 

© 2012 Sarah Wood

 About the Author: 
Sarah Jo Wood is founder of Evolving Advisors Inc., author of ‘How to turn a No or a Maybe into a Yes!” , and producer of “Magnetic Phrases.” Her forte is in copy enhancment, a gift allowing her to enhance already written copy thereby keeping the owner’s original voice, while magnetizing and making the copy sizzle with persuasion at a fraction of the cost of a copywriter. She can be found at www.evolvingadvisors.com

Selling: The New Marketing?

March 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Coaching, Sales Training

In days past, selling and marketing were two very different business animals. Marketing was all about communications and the messages about your business. Namely, what you needed to say to your target audience to get them to check you (and your business) out. Selling was all about, well, making sales.

The lines have blurred considerably between selling and marketing today. Knowing how these two business roles have morphed, and even merged, is the key to keeping your business top-of-mind with prospects and current clients and making more sales.

This doesn’t mean the old ways aren’t still used. It’s just that the old ways of doing selling and marketing don’t work nearly as well in the new economy, especially with digital mediums such as social media in the mix.

Prospecting means listening

It used to be that you could pick up the phone or send an email to connect with clients or prospects. These days, that’s not so easy. But it doesn’t mean that, as a salesperson, you don’t have a tool at your disposal to put you into the communications loop.

Today’s salespeople need to have a social media presence, if only to monitor what their clients and prospects are doing there. Using tools available to keep pace with clients is as easy as using Hootsuite and Trackur to monitor client activity. Branchout in Facebook allows you to connect with just about anyone and tap into the people your friends have connected with, too.

Educate don’t sell

Today, expertise is the name of the selling game. It’s not enough to have a snazzy elevator speech and perfect pitch for a presentation. Salespeople must know, understand and communicate their company’s products and service information in a way that educates their prospects and clients. The hard sell is a thing of the past. While the old sales methods of using manipulation or psychology still exist, the salespeople that use them are struggling.

Insights are for sharing

As part of the education process, salespeople must be able to sift through their and competitor’s information to provide answers to questions prospects have. This means they must be able to anticipate where confusion might exist, explain strengths, weaknesses and points of differentiation in a way that is insightful and (as above) educational. The salesperson who can help clients sift through the enormous amount of data available to them, assisting them in understanding what they’re seeing and helping them make a wise decision, is a salesperson who will do very well in this new sales economy.

Nurture clients through storytelling

Everyone loves a good story. This means that salespeople must be able to weave tales that inspire and illustrate how a client’s needs could be met through example. By taking the client’s issues, coupling them with relevant solutions – and then demonstrating how someone else succeeded in the same way – provides comfort and conveys the salesperson understands the problem intimately. Even if they don’t.

Close softly and develop a good relationship first

As noted above, hard closes are a thing of the past. Today’s salespeople must be able to establish relationships not only with prospects and current clients, but also with others who might be in a position to meet the needs of their clients. Being able to help clients – even outside of the salesperson’s expertise or industry can go a long way in solidifying a long-term relationship.

By using these tactics of marketing, salespeople can enhance their skill set, generate their own leads, enhance the rapport they have with prospects and clients, provide a wider-range of solutions and, most importantly, close more business. And that’s what it’s really about isn’t it?

 

© 2012 Sarah Wood

 About the Author: Sarah Jo Wood is founder of Evolving Advisors Inc. and author of ‘How to turn a No or a Maybe into a Yes!”  Her coaching program teaches entrepreneurs like you to overcome objections so you can sign up all the clients you want, fill your practice, and increase your bottom line.  To begin supercharging your sales, download your complimentary sales package today at www.evolvingadvisors.com.