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Q4/2011 Features & Benefits

A Fluent Moment

Did you know…

Some of today’s top business leaders are applying basic feature and benefit sales methodology when trying to institute change in their organizations. They know that they stand a better chance of getting commitment to and acceptance of their ideas if they show people how they will benefit from them.

Message from an
AFV Partner

Everyone knows what features and benefits are, right? Well, if that’s true, why do so many salespeople not use and/or misuse these vital components of the sales cycle? How many times have even good salespeople dumped feature after feature on customers and prospects thinking that they were in fact offering benefits? Let me help you; too many! The proper use of features and benefits can help differentiate you from your competitors. To start, you must first know the difference between the two. Next you have to do your homework so that you are knowledgeable about the features and benefits of your offerings. Finally, you need to ask good questions and listen to your prospects answers to ensure that you know what features will provide the required benefit to help you close a deal. The fact is that we usually are predisposed to what we are going to sell to a prospect before we even know what their business is or anything about their business environment. This leaves too much of the success or failure of the sales process to dumb luck. This edition of AFM is dedicated to features and benefits to help increase your understanding of their importance in the sales cycle. Thank you for subscribing to AFM. I hope you enjoy the issue!

robert_kellerMar2012-68x68

Robert Keller
Managing Partner
A Fluent Vision, L.L.C.

Features & Benefits

According to the Funk and Wagnalls dictionary, a feature is a characteristic, trait, attribute or quality. In our industry this translates to describing the “nuts and bolts” of your offerings. In solution selling, the feature communicates what we can offer to a prospect/customer.

For example:

“Our offering will allow you to up-grade applications without having to touch the desktop.”

In concrete terms, the features tell your partner what your offering will do.

Benefits, by definition, represent the payback, remuneration, or the profit your partner will gain as a result of the offering. Some benefits will be common to many partners:

  • Increase profitability
  • Decrease turnaround time
  • Increase quality
  • Increase customer satisfaction

When you provide a benefit to your partner, you are telling them how your offering will help them. You are conveying what business benefit the offering will provide. For example:

Our offering will allow you to upgrade applications without having to touch the desktop. This will increase productivity and decrease costs.

Features and benefits each have their own purpose yet their power comes when they are used together. Never use a feature without attaching a benefit. No one buys something without knowing what he/she is getting and how he/she will profit from it. Keep in mind that clients have a personal stake in their decision-making. Their personal needs are a factor in the equation. Figure out what your client cares about. Understand what your offering will mean to themand how they might benefit, personally, from it. For example:

“Our offering will allow you to upgrade

applications without having to touch the desktop. This will increase productivity, decrease costs, and could even allow you to get out of work at a decent time on Fridays!”

Communicating this type of ultimate benefit at the right moment during the sales cycle can make the difference when competing for business.

Ultimate benefits can cover a range of personal goals for the prospect:

  • More money
  • More free time
  • Increase in status
  • Being perceived as a hero
  • Ego satisfaction
  • Get more staff
  • A promotion
  • Look smarter

Features and benefits can be invaluable tools if understood and used properly. Since most of us prefer to buy from people that we trust, people who seem to understand our needs and have our interests at heart, features and benefits can become the glue that bind you and your partners into solid, strong relationships.

Consultative Corner

Vision

Consultative Selling requires more than checklist selling. Today’s customer wants to feel that they are getting more than just cookie cutter presentations. This is a challenge for sales professionals who are used to selling product rather than solutions.

To be good at consultative selling you have to be knowledgeable about your product offerings as well as curious and interested in your customer’s business needs. Know about your offerings, why someone would want them, what advantages they provide relative to competitor’s offerings and what benefits they will bring your customers.

Demonstrating an understanding of your customer’s business environment and needs will go a long way towards building strong and lasting relationships.


A Fluent Vision

Whether your sales infrastructure needs to be built from scratch, re-engineered, or simply re-invigorated; AFV is the answer. AFV can help you create A Fluent Vision.

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