When selling your products and services, you know that buyers will not be really interested in the features. Saying something like, “Yes, this model goes from zero to sixty in less than nine seconds”, or “Our WX600 can pump out 60 copies per minute”, leaves the customer having to do all the hard work themselves to determine what these features mean.
We all have heard that customers don’t buy features; they buy what those features will do for them. However, many salespeople will take the feature and just add what is obvious to them…but may not be that obvious to the customer.
So, they will say things like, “Yes, this model goes from zero to sixty in less than nine seconds, which means you can get away from the lights quicker than all the other traffic”
Or “Our WX600 can pump out 60 copies per minute, so you can get 10 of your manuals printed in just over 15 minutes.”
For a feature and benefit to really hit home, though, it has to resonate with the customer, so they can see exactly how the product would change their business, affect their lifestyle or enable them in some way to improve.
Again, the stating of the benefits above makes the customer do the hard work of connecting those benefits to what would be their own decision-making criteria. They have to work out how getting away from the other traffic would be a good thing. Or they have to work out what improvements would come to their business by printing the manuals in 15 minutes.
The fact is that the better you connect the benefits to their decision-making process, the easier it is for the customer to see the connection between what you’ve got and what they want, and so associate the solution with the result they want.
You can get the customer involved with this process by asking an open-ended question at the end of your benefit statement. This question shifts the buyer from passive listener to active participant and it reinforces the impact that the benefits will have for them or their business by asking the customer how those benefits apply to their needs.
You do this by restating a need the customer had mentioned earlier and then building on that need when you discuss the solution.
An example would be something like, “You said earlier that performance was important for you so you could get past all those lorries on the ‘A’ roads. With this model hitting sixty in less than nine seconds, how do you think it would help you achieve that?”
The reply may be “Well, I could certainly feel safer when I overtake, as it will get me passed the lorry quicker”.
“Exactly”, you reply. “That’s exactly what it will do; give you confidence when you need it most!”
You’ve taken the feature and allowed the customer to state how the benefit would apply to them. You don’t need to ‘sell’ the benefit; they sell it to themselves.
Similarly, with the photocopier example, you could say something like, “Can you imagine the benefits to your business by having all your manuals completely printed in just 15 minutes?”
They may reply, “Well, that will let us provide more efficient and quicker service to our clients, and allow us more time to complete other jobs”.
“Yes”, you could reply, “And the WX600 will help you achieve that by printing 60 copies a minute, so your efficiencies will increase and your clients will be pleased to give you more work!”
Allow the customer to state what benefits they’ll get by using the features your products bring and you’ll see the acceptance grow much quicker than if you simply stated them yourself.
This article was written by Sean McPheat, Managing Director of MTD Sales Training. Sean McPheat is regarded as a thought leader on modern day selling, head to the MTD Sales Blog for more support, help and advice from Sean and his team at MTD.
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