Friday, July 30, 2010

It's all about the Benefits, buddy

From my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Customers Buy Benefits

Sometimes, one of the most difficult things to teach beginning sales professionals (or sometimes even more senior sales professionals) is the difference between features and benefits.

All too frequently, salespeople list their product or service features, without articulating how those features will ultimately benefit that prospect or customer. Unfortunately, your prospects or customers are not always able to make that leap for themselves. And when they do not see the benefit, they do not buy. So, what is the difference between features and benefits? How do you articulate that difference?

Product or service features are facts -- they are just there. There is no real value or judgement attached to them. They simply exist. For example, the product is blue, it's a certain size or shape. Another example: The store is open 24 hours.

The most important thing you want to remember about features is: Nobody cares!

Your customers are buying benefits. They are saying to themselves, "What's in it for me?" "What will this do for me?" "What will this do for my company?" "How will this affect my bottom line?" "How will this affect my employees?" "How will this affect customer relations?"

People buy for their own reasons, not for yours. And people buy because they believe that the product or service will get them what they want. And what they really want is a Big Benefit.

Customers and clients want what they want; not what you think they may want or should want. They have their own reasons for buying. You may have to help them identify those reasons, but they will be theirs, not yours.

Here is an easy way to identify benefits:

Make a list of all of the facts/features of your product or service. Don't think about it, evaluate it or judge it. Just list them.

Once you have that list, go through the list item by item, putting yourself in your prospect's shoes. Say to yourself (as your prospect), "What's in it for me?"

Then, write down the answer. Once you have done that, you should have a compelling list of customer-centered benefits. Once you have that list of benefits, it will be easy to make your prospects and customers understand what's in it for them.

Source: Sales trainer/author Wendy Weiss

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