Monday, September 8, 2008

Benefits Versus Features

Most people in the business world are aware that sales is not the easiest thing to do but that it is perhaps the most essential of all the business functions.

Quite frankly, without sales a business cannot sustain itself. Understanding how to make a sale quickly and efficiently is both a skill and an art. It can be learned but it also requires a good amount of people intuition and people skills.

The first thing to understand about sales is that people are primarily concerned with one person: themselves. They are as a result of this driven by the benefits of a product and not so much the features.

Most would-be sellers do not realize how important the knowledge of these two aspects of a product is. As a result, they always fail miserably when making a sale.

Here's a tip that you should never forget: the customer always knows what they want, so it's your goal to figure that out by baiting them with the various benefits.

The popular sales quote is that "Features are the skins of benefits". Before you start selling, master the art of peeling each layer of a feature one at a time and understanding its benefits. Doing so will allow you to get to the core of what your customer are really looking for.

Remember, benefits help customers make decisions quickly, so get right to the benefits of the product as soon as possible.

So why does focusing on benefits always work more than focusing on features? Here are a couple of reasons.

First and foremost, benefits are more personal. Most people when looking for a specific product have a reason for looking for it. There is a benefit they are seeking out and hope to find it by using that product. When selling your product it is important to talk about the benefits to the customer first and foremost and then later talk about the features which produce those benefits and not the other way around.

Most people will shut off quickly when they find that you are circuitous in your description of your product and not directly relating it to them and what they're looking for. Remember once again to ask questions as this will help you understand the need that the customer wants filled.

Another important thing to consider is that every product has features. There isn't a product on the market that doesn't have specific features that come with it. The problem here is that customers are inherently lazy when making purchases, and they are not skilled in translating features into benefits. They want the dirty work already done for them.

Analyzing the features of every single product they see advertised to come up with the potential benefits takes too much work and they will simply choose not to do it if given the choice. You need to explain the benefits. Since your competitors may be doing the same thing, focus most on the benefits that are unique to your offering and you'll have more success.

The bottomline? Benefits focus on the customer, features focus on the product.

Customers only care about themselves and what the product can do for them, period.

If you can shift the focus of your sales team or presentations from a product orientation to a customer orientation, you should seen an increase in success in this area.

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