When delivering sales training presentations I often suggest that sales people be very measured about what messages they deliver to their prospects or customer.
Only share messages with your customers that are going to take you closer to a sale. If you are not sure a message will take you closer to a sale don’t clutter your sales presentation with it.
In other words, don’t clutter your sales presentations with information that is not relevant to the customer’s needs.
Remember the time that slick microwave sales person bored your pants off with 110 point long list of tasks that the Model T microwave could perform. It could cook aerodynamically in seven different languages and send emails but you were only looking for a basic defroster for your shack.
It is one thing if a bit of banter serves in developing rapport and relationships. However, if it is just clutter it will simply steal valuable selling time from you and worst still, it will waste your customer’s life.
So what then do you say after ‘Hello’?
Basically, after your rapport building conversation your sales presentation needs to contain messages and information that are going to take you closer to a sale.
This is where high priority Feature and Benefit messages kick in.
In my February blog The Baker Marketing: 2014 Marketing Summer School (Part 6) (Key Communication Messages – Choosing your words carefully) I provide an explanation of the structure of good Feature and Benefit messages. In essence the structure of a Feature and Benefit statement is that we include the factual information (The Feature) with the ‘What’s-in-it-for-me’ (The Benefit).
Features and Benefits in your Sales Process
The first step is to ensure that you actually use your Feature and Benefit Messages in your Sales Process in the first place (believe it or not, some people develop their Feature and Benefit messages but don’t actually get around to using them!). Then, it is also important that you focus on the high-priority feature and benefits when you do use them.
Two big points to remember about using Features and Benefit messages in your sales presentation A) Use them and B) Use the High Priority Ones first!
The ‘Benefits and Features’ Debate
It has long been understood that customers make purchasing decisions based on the benefits that they extract rather than the specific features of a product or service.
So why then do we always put the Features first?
Some Marketing extremists (AKA ‘put the Benefits first movement’ a soon to be declared ‘outlaw’ marketing organisation) have been known to demand a reversal of the popular practice of referring to the Feature first. They want a greatly increased focus on benefits and believe they should only be referred to as ‘Benefits and Features’.
I say Who Cares, so long as you understand the concept of Features and Benefits and you integrate them into your marketing communications!’
Benefit from the Benefits
The above fictional debate is intended to illustrate an important point. This point is that the information of absolute most importance to the customer is really the benefits. That is, the Benefits they are going to enjoy after they have made a purchase decision.
A major role of the Feature component is simply to add facts, understanding and credibility to Benefit claim.
There is no question that many sales presentations can be improved by an increased emphasis on what the customer is going to enjoy or receive after they make a purchase decision. More emphasis on the benefits means less air-play for the facts about the product or service. This is of course, unless they are required for understanding and/or credibility.
Implementing your Features and Benefits Messages
So a third point to consider regarding Features and Benefits is, where possible, to put the emphasis on the Benefits.
In summary, I recommend you consider the following when implementing your feature and benefit messages:
- Use Features and Benefits
- Use High-Priority Feature and Benefits first
- Put the emphasis on the Benefits where possible