Features Don’t Sell

by | Feb 1, 2018 | Sales Strategy

Facts tell, stories sell.

If you want to influence your clients to act, tell them a story or give them an analogy. It’s a powerful way to paint a picture of what the client can have. It opens them to understanding how your solution can be of benefit.

Years ago, one of the most popular sales techniques was to show your features, how they function and how those benefits might be of benefit. Today that just doesn’t work. Why?

With advent of the internet, clients are more knowledgeable than ever before. They’ve googled you, and perhaps been to your website, so they have a good idea before you even walk in the door whether you can help them solve their problem.

In fact, the mantra today is don’t call us, we’ll call you.

The internet gives clients a tremendous advantage along with insights into the multitude of solutions now available. This resource can put sales people at a disadvantage if they don’t convey unique value early in the sales call.

So, if features, function and benefits don’t move the client, what does?

Before we consider the answer, let’s look at another challenge facing sellers today. It’s the client’s attention span. In 1998, the average attention span was 12 minutes. In 2008, it dropped to 5 minutes. Now it’s 2018, what do you think it is? I’d be surprised if it wasn’t in the range of 60-90 seconds. How, then, do we grab a client’s attention?

Clients are looking for differentiators.

How can you capture their attention, so they stop and consider the message you’re sending?

Now, thanks to the incredible leverage of the internet, feature, function and benefit have evolved into data, knowledge and wisdom.

Features are the data. It’s purely information, its cost and what it can do. Today smart phones have many apps which can make it even easier to access data. It’s 23 degrees in New York City. The stock market just hit another record high. Or, your favorite team just fired their head coach. Data is constantly available.

Functionality is how you use an app. You’re driving to a meeting, so you open the Waze app. It provides you with a real-time, best route based on the traffic flow at that time. It’s not just the data or knowledge that matters, it’s how you can use the information to enhance your business or life.

And benefits now become wisdom. Because not only did you get important traffic information from the Waze app, you can now turn that information into actionable wisdom. For example, the app warns you of major traffic delay three miles up the road giving you the option to take the recommended alternate route saving you a 45-minute delay. Thanks to Waze, you just saved a huge amount of time and you arrive on time for a very important client meeting. Those who don’t use available data may be left behind or arrive very late for that important meeting.

When you show the client the real benefit or wisdom in your solution, it will more naturally and quickly move them to action. And if you can lead them to see your solution as their idea, they’ll get even more excited.

The next time you’re presenting to a client or prospect, go beyond features and function; show them how the benefits you provide allow them to make a wise decision for their business.

Good selling!