Of course it’s absolutely essential to know the features and benefits of our product or service BUT we should not ever open a presentation with them. Why? Because it’s very unlikely that the person we are selling to will immediately relate those features and benefits to their situation. If we open with features and benefits, the person we are speaking to is most likely to be thinking ‘so what’. They haven’t had the time or, indeed the inclination or desire to see how those features and benefits can benefit them. That’s not their job – it’s yours!
People buy for emotional reasons – and sometimes need logical decisions to justify them. And the two emotions that are most likely to stir up a decision to want to know more are Pain and Pleasure. When I ask a large audience which of those two emotions are most likely to motivate the potential customer to want to buy, most of the hands go up for pleasure.
That is incorrect. It is pain.
Imagine you are in the market to buy a particular product or service. I have two items available – but you can only have one of them on which to base your decision. The first is a six page, glossy corporate brochure packed full of features and benefits and lots of pretty pictures. The second is just two sheets of paper containing case studies of how the company you were considering buying from was able to solve problems that other customers were experiencing and how they helped them solve those problems. Which one do you want?
Bet you chose the case study!
My favourite definition of selling, which I wrote over twenty years ago is: ‘Exposing companies and individuals to problems they maybe never knew they had and to opportunities they maybe never knew existed, and then showing them how your products or services can help them solve the problems and exploit the opportunities – AND GETTING THEM TO BUY’
It does NOT say – ‘exposing companies and individuals to features and benefits……’
Before you ever write to potential customers, telephone them, or attend a meeting, you simply must know what pains or problems they could be experiencing in their businesses or their lives and know the questions you need to ask to expose those pains and problems. Only then can you show them how your features and benefits can help them solve those problems and get them to buy. Your role as a salesperson is to make them feel the pain first and THEN make them feel better.