Your Business In 2011: Considering Features Vs. Benefits

Camry Benefits vs FeaturesYou’ve probably seen the Toyota Camry commercial where they wow you with the stopping distance from 70mph-to-zero in the fancy red sedan (see fancy non-red sedan to the left).

It pits the vehicle against a few other sedans and, as most car commercials now cause you to do, you start to glaze over watching yet another car ad.

My eyes glazed over for a moment…but then I started to consider features versus benefits.

Toward the end of the commercial you see the car come to a full stop and a woman is in the driver’s seat.  She states something to the effect, “I’m concerned because of him,” talking about her kid all buckled-up in the backseat.  He’s in the camera shot as well so you become awash in a Toyota wave of family security.

You think to yourself, “the benefit of owning a Toyota Camry is my family will be safe when traveling in this vehicle.”

Benefits Pull Emotional Triggers

For the family types, you may like the styling, paint, and interior room of a certain model vehicle.  But the features alone won’t sell you.  You have to know that when the chips are down, your precious cargo (i.e. kids and/or spouse) will be safe.

Pretty metallic paint won’t save lives.  Neither will custom floor mats.

Pointing out product benefits places you (or your customer) in the driver’s seat of ownership.  It’s an emotional play and one that is very powerful in convincing people to buy.

So instead of rattling off a list of all the shiny bells explain to your customers what the product or service will do for them today, how it will make them feel tomorrow, and bonus points if it protects their family.  But keep it direct and simple.

Examples of Benefits

Do you run an article writing or copywriting service? It’s great that you can, “spice up my web copy,” and, “clean up my grammar,” but what does that really mean?

Your benefit to me is your services strengthen my site’s copy to compel my visitors to buy. Romance me with stories of how you will masterfully enhance my articles so they resonate with my readers and make them evangelists of my brand.

Are you in web design?  Don’t bore me with simple visions of a “beautiful layout” or “clean and easy navigation.”

How will your design translate into “sticky” traffic and higher conversions?  Convey those benefits and you’ll have people gladly reaching for their wallets.

Get It? Got it. Prove It!

Are you showcasing real-world benefits or are you basing sales on shiny features?  If you’re only touting features then step up to the plate and share how you’ll adjust course in the comments.

Photo: tomukas

3 Responses to Your Business In 2011: Considering Features Vs. Benefits
  1. Sarah Russell
    January 17, 2011 | 10:02 am

    Very well said. This is absolutely one of the keys to succeeding with internet business. If you can get the prospect to really feel what a difference your product will make in his or her life, making the sale is so much easier than trying to force it with features.

    It’s not an easy skill to master (I still have to spend time making sure I’m selling benefits, not features), but it’s worth putting the time into doing right.

    • Jon
      January 17, 2011 | 8:10 pm

      Thank you and “easier” sales sound good to me!

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