When you separate what a product is from what it does, you take one of the most important steps in sales call preparation. Only then will you articulate value in terms that will resonate with your customers. Successful salespeople know: it’s all about the benefits.

Winning salespeople know that customers buy benefits, not features. While a financial planner might sell sound advice, clients buy piece of mind. A company might sell printers with high resolution and fast print speeds, but a promotional company really buys the ability to print more flyers in house. And while a phone system might offer automated call routing, what a service company really buys is less customer on-hold time. Customers are far more inclined to buy when a salesperson matches a compelling picture of what a feature can do to a real need.

Extend Feature to Benefit
Let’s say a Laddawn salesperson speaks with a purely features approach. You might hear something like this: “With Laddawn you get free custom labeling and access to an inventory of 2,700 stock items. We also have fast and accurate quoting software.” It’s an impressive list of capabilities, but without connecting the dots to what each really means to the customer they just sort of hang there, out of the customer’s reach.

:: We feature free custom labeling with Brandit, but our distributors benefit by greater brand recognition and faster reorder rates.

:: We feature 24-hour shipping of 2,700 stock items, but our distributors benefit by tying up less cash in inventory while providing just-in-time order fulfillment.

:: We feature custom quotes in seconds, but our distributors benefit by responding faster to custom opportunities and by quoting more new business more often. Now listen as that same Laddawn sales person brings those features alive with benefits: “And what that means to you is that your customers will remember your company name more and reorder more often. You’ll be able to deliver supplies just-in-time and still free up inventory cash and space. And, you’ll be able to turn around more custom opportunities faster.”

Tie Benefit to Need
To develop a story that resonates, consider this exercise. Select one product and make a list of features. Then, step into your customer’s shoes. What holds him back? What ties up his cash? Can he be more efficient or more competitive? Now, for each feature (what your product is), compile a list of real benefits (what your product does). See any matches? You’ve just translated feature to benefit and connected benefit to need. Best of all,you’ve significantly increased your likelihood of winning sales.

What’s In It For Them?
It’s all about the benefits. Yet, sometimes we become so enamored with our own product’s bells and whistles we neglect to consider benefits. Other times,we simply forget to listen to our customers. In any case, salespeople overlook their most basic task too often: to paint a compelling picture of what our product’s features can do. Within those benefits, tied to needs, lies sales success.

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