Features and Benefits 

Mike Humphries smartPRENEUR Blog Series

We all live in a highly technical world.

Even more so in the integrator smart home smart office world. Almost everything there is to do with the products you sell, install and service has a big technical aspect. So it is natural that one of the first tendencies we might have when dealing with a prospect is to talk about these tech aspects. But if that’s pretty much all you do you may be headed down the wrong path for successfully closing the deal.

Here is why:

Unless you are a scientist or an extreme technical expert, most of the decisions you make that involve buying something are based on what you are trying to achieve and how the item under consideration helps you successfully meet those goals. In other words you are looking to understand how you or your business will be benefited. Not how cool the technical aspects might be of the product or products under consideration. Those cool tech aspects might be evidence of why the benefit you are seeking is going to be fulfilled, but on their own just acquiring a new gadget for the sake of the coolness of the gadget is not a normal business consideration. In our personal lives it may be because it’s fun or interesting. But a business usually needs to have the checklist of needs complete in order to be successful, and stay viable.

Those cool tech items are features. They are properties that the item or items under consideration have that may help them to work in a way to achieve the needs, but on their own they are at best evidence of that. So the smart salesperson leads with benefits. Then uses features as evidence to convince the buyer they will in fact attain the benefits they need.

Example:

“The Control4 XYZ model is able to control over 5409 devices.” This is a feature statement
Instead:
“By using Control4 XYZ you will have the ability in the future to expand the types and numbers of devices you want to control because it has got you covered on practically every viable device in the marketplace. Seamless expansion with the same core controller.” This is a benefit statement!

By stating a benefit we have made it easy for the prospect to understand how our proposed product/service is going to get them where they want to be. We are not relying on them in this case to make the jump in logic that is so easy for us to see. They may not realize that so why leave it to chance? 

Not just for products

This same approach works for non tech items as well. For instance if you are also selling the services of your integration company abilities you might say something like:

“We have been in business for over 10 years.” That’s a feature too. What you might want to say instead is:

“I know after the sale of the homes you build you want your buyers to be enjoying the functionality as much as possible and with as little pain as possible because it all reflects back on you. We have the people and resources to respond to a future tech glitch when it happens and get it fixed in short order. This is because our company has many years of experience in what works, a process to address support issues and the type of support people to make it happen. We have what it takes to make you and your homes’ smart features look as good as you intended.”

Use a benefit statement to make it crystal clear, then if appropriate use the features that make this possible as proof of our claim to a benefit.

A method for talking about your proposed solution

The successful salesperson will work first to make sure they know what the prospect is trying to achieve with a purchase of products and related services. Then they will translate those goals into how they will propose to provide a solution that has specific benefits. Benefits that apply directly to the desired solution.

That same salesperson will often make their pitch of benefits in this way:

  • Restate the understanding of the need the prospect has expressed-confirming its value
  • State the benefit your proposed product or service will provide
  • Cite the feature that contributes to this benefit
  • Ask them for confirmation this combo benefit/feature will work for them

If you don’t already use benefits first it may take a while to develop the new habit. You can start by thinking of the common goals your prospects have shown over time and what corresponding benefits you offer to help make it happen. Map your benefit to each prospect goal. And then add on the features that support that benefit claim.  
It will eventually become second nature. Then you should see increased sales success along with more revenue for your business and hopefully the profits that follow.