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Features, Advantage, and Benefits in Sales: sell the Sizzle, not the Steak!
A common mistake most newbie salespeople do is to ramble on and on about the product features. They probably memorized all the specifications of the product.
They can talk non-stop about all the great things the product does as well as all the tools it comes with, and the customer will get an intensive course on all the technical aspects of the product or service. Yet, they´ll most likely lose the deal.
This doesn’t mean every rep shouldn’t know their product inside-out. Spending time to have in-depth product knowledge is a pillar on the path to success for anyone in sales.
Having said this, the point of the sales presentation isn’t to give the client a Master´s Degree on how to use your product. As a salesperson, you´re there to help your customer realize they have a problem and offer a solution.
You will do this by not only explaining to your customers what your program “has”, but what it will “do” for your them, as well as the advantage over their current situation and your competition.
We can understand these “Features”, “Advantages”, and “Benefits” (F-A-B) though a process called “Product Inventory”.
What is the difference between Feature, Benefit, and Advantage in sales?
Features: This is simply what the product “is”, “has” or “does”. It may include “how” the product performs certain characteristics or process and it´s just information about attributes and specifications.
Advantages: An advantage is what that feature does in comparison to the customer´s current situation. It may be contrasted against a competing product or the problem the clients are facing because they currently lack a solution.
Benefits: These explain how the customer will use that advantage to solve their specific problem. A benefit provides the ultimate explanation of “why” they need your product, providing the foundation to Close the Deal.
How to define the Benefits and Advantages of each feature.
The first step is to create a Product Inventory. This is a list of every feature your product has. Educate yourself in all the specifications of your product before you go out and offer it to your customer.
Now, be aware of the old saying: “Know everything you say, but don’t say anything you know”. These product specifications have to be understood and memorized in order to whip them out in front of the customer if needed. Don’t bore your customer with 1,000 different irrelevant features that will only confuse or overload them with data.
Your presentation must include all 3, Features, Advantages, and Benefits since showing only one or two will not have a strong enough impact. Features by themselves won´t sell if their advantages aren´t explained, and these two will be meaningless if the customers can´t understand how these will benefit them.
To create this list, you´ll need 3 columns:
Column 1: Features
In the “Features” column, you can brainstorm all the different features you can think of, as irrelevant as they may seem. This part of the process is important as you´ll gain a deep understanding of everything your product entails.
As you can see, Features don´t really mean anything to a customer by themselves. They are just describing your product or service.
Column 2: Advantages
Once you list every feature, specification, and add-on, its time to tie each one of them to a specific advantage that having that item could bring the buyers. This Advantage is the explanation for having this item in your product.
Advantages can be a simple comparison with another product in the market or with the client´s current situation. Some of these advantages might be repeated as some features are similar.
Unfortunately, Advantages are generic; they don’t solve a client´s specific problem and by themselves don´t offer any value.
Column 3: Benefits
Benefits describe how a Feature and Advantage relate to a buyer’s priorities and Dominant Buying Motives. For Clients to purchase your product or service, they must see it as a solution.
Listing all the benefits will give you a very good idea of which features you should address and explain, show the advantages, and finally tie it to the benefit your customer finds valuable.
To understand what your specific customer Values, you must do a thorough discovery. By asking your client second and third-level questions, they will reveal information that will indicate which Benefit from the 3rd Column matches their problem.
Some common benefits in sales include:
Increase market share
Give peace of mind
Improve user experience
Remember, benefits are only valuable if the buyer finds them important. If the client is presented only with benefits, they will lose trust since it will be "too good to be true". To avoid this, you must include Features and Advantages as well.
Here are a few examples of how to use them:
This is how you would layout this F-A-B to the customer:
"Our members are affiliated to the RCI exchange company, which gives them the opportunity to choose from thousands of properties worldwide. This will allow you to keep the flexibility of traveling to your favorite destinations for a fraction of the cost."
"This unit comes with an extended warranty. Having these 2 extra years will not only save you a ton of money and give you peace of mind that your vehicle will not surprise you with an unexpected breakdown, but will increase the resale value if you were to trade or sell it in the future!"
I´m sure that by using this product inventory, you´ll be able to create a compelling argument on why your customer should get your product. This list will get you thinking about what makes your product great and why anyone should buy it from you! Tie it to an awesome targeted benefit and Close the Deal Today!