What is a Feature / Benefit Statement?
Do you know the difference between a feature and a benefit for your product and how feature / benefit statements build on one another? My experience has shown that most sales people are great at rattling off a list of features. However, they are relatively inept at describing how that feature actually benefits the client. In the next few minutes I will offer you a quick primer on how to turn your list of features into a series of statements used to turn shoppers into buyers. The 40,000 ft view is this: A feature tells your client what your product is, a benefit tells your client what your product does specifically for them, and the interest check makes sure they see value. Let’s take look at how you can pair features with benefits to create situations where you clients are excited to buy from you.
The first step is to summarize and clarify the need. This will show your client that you have listened, and will ensure that you truly understand what it is they are looking for. A good summary would be structured like this: Mr. Client, what I am hearing is… or am I correct in saying… if the answer is no, ask a few more probing questions until you are certain you understand.
The next step is to present your feature. A feature is the thing about your product that would prompt me to want to buy. It could be how your product would cut my costs, save me time, reduce my employee turnover, etc… This is where most sales people stop.
You however, being the stellar sales person you are will go one step further and give them the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me). This is the statement that matches up your feature with their need thus establishing benefit. The easiest way to start a feature / benefit statement is to begin with: What this means to you, is…
Finally you end with a temperature check to make sure this item has been sufficiently dealt with. An example would be: How do you think this would be of benefit to you?
So a bare bones model would look like this:
1. Mr. Client, Am I correct in saying you are having an issue with X?
Yes I am.
2. Ok, I just wanted to make sure I was clear… One of the great things about (your product) is it produces Y outcome.
3. What that means to you is you will spend less time focusing on x problem and have more free time to focus on other issues.
4. How do you think this would be of benefit to you?
Let’s put it into a real scenario we are all familiar with…
Mr. Client, what I am hearing is that you are frustrated with your current bank because you are paying high fees to get your money because you are currently working with a small bank that does not have an extensive network of ATM’s. However, you do enjoy the level of customer service you receive because you are with a small local bank that knows and understands your needs, is that correct?
Yes, in fact it drives me nuts! Last month I spent $75 on ATM fees, but I don’t want to get lost in the shuffle of a large national bank.
One of the great things about working with XYZ Credit Union is you can not only use any of our 75 no fee ATM’s but you also have access to our co-op network of ATM’s giving you access to an additional 10,000 no fee ATM’s around the country.
This network allows us to give you big bank convenience and maintain the small credit union level of customer service you currently enjoy enjoy.
How do you think this would be of benefit to you?
Action Plan For Using Feature / Benefit statements:
Create a list of as many features as you can think of for your product or service.
Match that list of features to a benefit that makes your product or service worth buying.
Practice this list until it become second nature.
Proper and appropriate use of feature / benefit statements is one of the basic skills of professional selling. In future postings we will discuss how to use feature and benefit statements in voice mail, overcoming objections, and closing situations to provide greater customer service, and increase sales and how to build value.
If you would like to learn more about selling based on value I recommend you take a look at Value-Added Selling: How to Sell More Profitably, Confidently, and Professionally by Competing on Value, Not Price by Tom Reilly.