A friend that works at a car dealership was recently discussing a sales technique with me. “We’re not allowed to let customers leave until they take a test drive,” she said. “If they take a test drive, the chances that they’ll buy really improve.”
What does this have to do with today’s topic? The car dealership’s policy clearly illustrates the difference between selling features and selling benefits.
So what’s the difference?
A feature could be the structure, physical description, or attributes of your product or service. When you talk about features, you are simply describing what it does, how it’s designed, what it looks like and how it works. It’s rational, makes perfect sense, and is really, really interesting—but mostly to the person who designed or sells the product.
Unfortunately, describing features is not a great way to actually convince anyone to buy.
A benefit on the other hand is the emotional reasons or connections your prospect makes with your product or service. Research shows that every single buying decision people make is based first on their emotional response. People use features to back up a decision they’ve already made emotionally.
Think about the largest purchase most of us will every make—buying a house. Real estate professionals know that if people fall in love with the house, they usually end up buying in less than thirty seconds! (If you watch those shows on TV about how to fix up your home to sell it, you’ll know what we’re talking about.) It’s only after they’ve found “the house for us” that buyers look at the features in detail to reaffirm their decision to buy.
At a car dealership, putting the consumer in the driver’s seat changes the way they view the vehicle. No longer are they looking at the “features” of the car, they are experiencing the benefits. (Hence the increase in sales.)
So what can you do to make sure your message is speaking to your prospect’s heart and not their head? Ask yourself a series of questions:
• How will their life be better, easier, or more fun with my product or service?
• Why will they want to tell their friends about my company?
• Without my product or service, what will the prospect be missing?
• How will the prospect justify this purchase to themselves or their spouse?
By answering these questions, you will discover the benefits that will attract your prospects. No matter how tempted you may be to point out the incredible “features” of your product, sell with the prospect in mind.When you constantly put the prospects emotions first, you will create marketing messages that drive sales like you’ve never seen before.