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

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