What is the difference between features and benefits? Some people use the terms interchangeably, but the truth is they are worlds apart.
Isn’t it frustrating that each time you look for information about the newest laptop you are considering buying, sellers present your features like a 15.6″ screen with 8G RAM, IPS display, and a backlit keyboard?
Most consumers don’t understand this industry lingo and walk away thinking, “so what?”
From an average person’s point of view, these features are pretty bland. They do not entice a potential customer to part with their hard-earned money and drive them to purchase. Well, at least not in the same way benefits do.
Features vs. benefits
When we talk about a feature, it is simply what your product or service has. For a laptop, it is the screen’s size, how big its memory is, what it looks like, etc. A car has a power output of 89 hp. A razor has twin blades.
When presented with features, the next thing you want to find out is “what’s in it for me?” Features can be too technical, and unless you are an expert, these pieces of information are not convincing or emotionally stimulating. The problem with that is consumers are emotional buyers.
On the other hand, benefits show the consumers what is in it for them. They stir the emotional desires within the consumer and connect them with what you are selling. Benefits denote what a product does to improve the lives of consumers. Benefits appeal to prospects, first-time buyers, entrepreneurs, end-user, and top-level executives. And eventually, the key benefits will be the main reason why a consumer buys your product or service.
Marketers and salespeople should always keep in mind that consumers only care about themselves and how their needs will be met. They do not care about your company or how much effort you put into creating your product.
Selling: The three basic rules
- People do not like to be sold
On its face, this statement may not make any sense. Consumers buy trillions of dollars worth of goods and services every year. No doubt, people love to shop.
That does not mean they like to be sold, however. While people want to buy, they do not wish to be sold. Buying implies they are in control while being sold is the opposite. When marketing your product, offer to give them something they would want and the information to sell themselves.
- People buy for emotional reasons
If people acted rationally, you probably would not be able to sell a piece of candy. There is no logical reason to buy one. It is not nutritious and could potentially ruin your teeth. But why is candy a multi-billion dollar industry? Because it makes you feel good.
To be successful, you have to appeal to people’s desires and emotions. Provide them with benefits. Sell to the heart and not to the head.
- Once they buy, people need to justify their purchase
People need to justify their purchases to make them feel good about their decision. After you show them the benefits of having your product, then that is the time you present the features.
For instance, car commercials typically show a beautiful, stylish new car with a mountainous landscape in the background. It will also show how comfortable the leather-covered seats are, with air conditioning that will keep you cool at all times. Put them all together, and you have a short advertisement designed to appeal to the emotion.
Car commercials do not stop with presenting the benefits, however. They also provide you with the engine’s size, data on fuel economy, speed, weight, and so on. These bits and pieces of information are not meant to sell but make the consumer feel better about buying the carn for the hefty price tag. In the final analysis, this information is just as important as the benefits.
Communicating more profound benefits
It is essential to highlight that each customer is interested in different benefits. There is a range of social clues that can help you recognize what particular consumers are interested in and identifying their pain points.
Here are a few tips that can help you enhance the impact of the benefits that you offer to your consumers.
- Tell a simple, straightforward story
You can show social proof to tell a story. Promote testimonials provided by current users and show how your product has changed the lives of real customers.
- Be real
Being authentic will help you build trust. Trust leads to more sales.
- Lay down the details
Present rich details of the product and the benefits so you can draw interest to your product.
- Address your prospects’ needs
When creating a marketing campaign, keep asking the question “so what?” in each step of the process. The trick is to continue asking this question until you are satisfied with the answer.
This laptop has 8G RAM, so what? It will run faster. So what? You will complete your tasks in less time, giving you more time for your family. Ah, now you’re talking! Those are important customer benefits.
- Promise your prospects that their lives will be better with your product
Tell prospective buyers that you will address their pain points and that their lives will be better when they purchase your product.
Each time you start your marketing campaign, these words should start running through your head: benefits, not features.
Keep in mind that while features appeal to the consumers’ logic, it is the benefits that connect the consumers’ emotional desires with the product or service you are offering.
Sell with benefits, then rationalize with features. You will never go wrong.