Product marketers everywhere, are your days numbered?
Companies love to put out marketing rich documents full of features and benefits for all of their products or services.
The only caveat is that the people these documents are being generated for don’t care.
Before disagreeing, allow me to explain.
Features and Benefits don’t sell, they never really have, yet companies keep pumping them out anyway.
Why Feature Benefit Selling Still Exists?
Have you ever watched water spill out of a cup onto the table?
Where does the water flow?
If an object gets in the way of the water it will flow around the object, right?
I like to call this “The Path of Least Resistance.”
Feature Benefit selling is much like this.
Because connecting with customers in a meaningful way is difficult.
This takes empathy, a good active ear and some thoughtful inquisitive questions; not to mention being genuine.
To show up and throw up your features at a potential buyer takes memorization and repetition.
Bottom line, Ain’t gots to be smart to do it.
Does Feature Benefit Selling Have a Place?
At some point in any sales process you will have to present some value for the product you are offering.
The Features and Benefits of the product will probably align in this discussion.
But it doesn’t come in some bullet format or a left side, right side slide in a Powerpoint deck.
It comes through asking your prospect questions that help them identify forward motion.
Whatever your product or service, the process of active listening will identify your opportunity.
It is strategic placement of the feature and/or benefit that will make it meaningful to the potential buyer.
But I have the Fastest, Biggest, Shiniest Widget
Great, your product is cool!
But does that mean anything to the person you are selling to?
I see it all the time, in technology it is how fast a solution runs or how high the resolution is on the monitor.
The next question is…
Does. The. Buyer. Care?
Seriously, if my call connects in 3 ms instead of 5 ms does that mean anything?
Making It Relevant, Because your Offering is Great!
There is nothing wrong with having an amazing product and even the desire to show it off is important.
But think back to the reasons that you buy things?
This is where the human condition comes back into play.
We tend to buy for more emotional reasons.
One of the best explanations I ever heard was we buy things emotionally and justify them rationally.
If this is true, then the features and benefits become a mere rationalization for why we buy.
A Simple Approach for Real Selling
So, buyers don’t buy our features and benefits. We know this, and finally we choose to recognize it?
If you are willing to move to the connected level of sales then there is an approach to get started.
But this means we will have to do things a little bit differently than before.
It starts by humanizing the entire sales process.
Start by asking a lot of questions and staying away from the products features and benefits for as long as possible.
Questions should attempt to connect with the buyers emotional requirements and then help them to justify their purchase decision with your “Whiz Bang.”
Some questions may look like these…
- Tell me about your challenges related to “Your Product/Service Segment”
- What have you done to attempt to overcome these challenges?
- Have you had any success or failures? Share any details?
- Why are you looking to meet this need?
- And so on with these types of thoughtful questions
When you run into a customer that is pressing you to “Spew your features” understand this means one of two things. Chances are they are either appeasing you or they are trying to garner info from you.
While this of course is not all encompassing, genuinely interested buyers usually have a deeper desire to connect to the need and will share that with you once you start to earn their trust.
But here is the bottom line….
Feature Benefit selling is Dead. Whether you have noticed or not it has been dead for some time.
Selling comes down to connecting. Begging the question; How will you connect?