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Sales Tip #4

Features Tell, Benefits Sell…

By Jamie McNaughton, McNaughton Incorporated
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This is an old “sale’s saying” but whoever thought of it was right on target!  Remember buying a computer?  The sales person rambles off that “this model has 1 gig of RAM and a duel Processor with 250 gig of hard drive and a certain type of video card”.  Unless you know about computers, none of that really matters to you right?  What you really want to know is how it will work for what you need it to do.  How fast it will be, how much can it store, is it good for gaming, photos, or videos?  How much data can it store? How does it surf the internet?  Will it handle multi-tasking, business accounting software and spread sheets?  You need to know how those “Computer Talk Features” will personally and directly benefit YOU based upon your needs.  Those “features” only tell you about the computer, they do not sell you on the computer.

 salesTo make a sale in today’s environment, you first need to identify your customers need.  Then, in suggesting a product, your customer needs to hear the direct and personal benefits to them.  Good sales people, good displays, and good packaging tell and sell.   As sales people, we need to help our customer see how buying a particular item will positively affect their life and fill their need.  Hearing about the number of bristles or the quality of the material is irrelevant unless the customer can see why that matters to them.  With every feature, explain the benefits of that feature to your customer.


Soapy Soles
FEATURE: Over 1500 gentle “fingers” suction cups to the floor of your tub or shower
Customer says "so what!"
BENEFIT: No more bending and balancing to clean your feet!  Simply drizzle liquid soap on the surface and rub your foot over the gentle “fingers” to clean and massage your tired feet. 
Customer says "I'll take one!"

Window Vases

FEATURE: Suction Cups to Window or Mirror
Customer says "so what!"
BENEFIT: Display flowers up and out of the way  -- off of your table or counter. No tipping over, no clutter!  Save Space, display beauty!  Create new spaces for vases!
Customer says "I'll take one!"

Soda Bottle Bird Feeder

FEATURE: Attaches to a soda bottle to create a bird feeder
Customer says "so what!"
BENEFIT: An inexpensive way to feed birds, have fun putting a simple project together and recycle your soda bottles!  Affordable, Fun and is good for the environment.
Customer says "I'll take one!"

An Articulating TV Mount

FEATURE: Articulating Arm
Customer says "so what!"
BENEFIT: Allows you to view your TV from different angles in the room based on the location from where you are viewing.  Folds back against the wall when not in use.

 Customer says "That’s exactly what I need!"


Do you ever have sales meetings with your sales associates?  If so, play the Features & Benefits Game.  Choose several high profit products.  Divide you sales staff into two teams.  Team One will suggest a feature from the package of the item and Team Two has 15 seconds to come up with the benefits of that feature.  Do two or three Feature/Benefits for each item. Then try a new product and let the teams switch from feature to benefit.  Make it fun. Use a variation of the game scoring points for each answer.  Or, have a quiz at the end. Hold a contest or offer a silly prize for the best ideas.  This game will help sales staff learn and focus on each product’s benefits in a fun way and it will offer them sales ideas they hadn’t thought of.  You should even be able to track the sales growth on those items as your staff does a better job of “selling” them!

So, next time you are rattling off all the cool features of a product, remember, your customer needs to hear the benefits.  Remember and remind sales people frequently --  Features Tell, Benefits Sell!  If your time is limited, skip the features and focus on the benefits.

Happy Sales!


Jamie McNaughton is Vice President and Co-Founder McNaughton Incorporated

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