y Joe Weigel of Weigel Strategic Marketing
During my career in funeral service, I have had the opportunity to sit in on numerous sales calls as well as to review many sales brochures. I am still amazed at how many times the salesperson or marketing literature focuses only on the features of the products. The salesperson or sales piece proudly lists all the “bells and whistles” of the product. The problem is that I have never found anyone who buys only based on features. People, and companies, buy benefits.
Too many times, the salesperson (or sales piece) assumes that customers are able to figure out the benefits on their own. They forget to articulate the key issue – what differences do these features make to the customer, and how will their outcome be better because of these differences?
If you are in sales or marketing of a funeral product, don’t leave the logical progression from feature to advantage to benefit up to your customer. Explain the benefit first. If that is a benefit that your prospect cares about, they will be interested in how your solution is able to deliver that benefit. You then explain how your solution has the specific advantage over other solutions that leads to that benefit. The customer might want to know what it is about your solution that gives it this advantage, and then you can explain about the feature that delivers that specific advantage.
Let me give you an example from my days as the marketing director of a casket company. We developed an “oversize” casket and thought long and hard on how to best market it to funeral homes and families:
- Feature: 29-½” outside casket dimension
- Advantage: Fits in a standard vault
- Benefit: Family doesn’t have to purchase a more expensive oversize vault.
To see how Features, Advantages, and Benefits together create a compelling, targeted message, consider the following statements:
Statement #1: “Our new oversize Capri Caskets has a 29-½” outside casket dimension.”
Statement #2: “Our new oversize Capri Caskets has a 29-½” outside casket dimension which allows it to fit in a standard vault.”
Statement #3: “Our new oversize Capri Caskets has a 29-½” outside casket dimension, allowing it to fit in a standard vault, which means your families don’t have to purchase a more expensive oversize vault.”
So which statement has more impact?
Knowing the difference between features, advantages, and benefits is essential for marketers and salespeople. However, using this technique is not easily mastered. A mentor of mine provided me with this exercise to help me understand the Feature – Advantage – Benefit progression:
- Feature: It is
- Advantage: It Does
- Benefit: You Get.
When struggling to distinguish these within your own product literature or sales call, ask yourself: Is what I am focusing on the “29-½” dimension” feature, the “fits in a standard vault” advantage, or the “less expensive” benefit?
Remember, benefits sell products. They are derived not from the product, but from the customer’s point of view and mindset.
Joe Weigel is the owner of Weigel Strategic Marketing, a communications firm focused on the funeral profession that delivers expertise and results across three interrelated marketing disciplines: strategy, branding and communications. You can visit his website at weigelstrategicmarketing.webs.com. He also can be reached at 317-608-8914 or firstname.lastname@example.org.