May 1st, 2019
Feature/Benefit Selling Is Dead
Far and away the biggest response that we got to my initial post in this series “Making Salespeople Great Again,” was the statement we made about feature/benefit selling being dead.
I get it. For many of us “old timers” in the game of selling, that statement flies in the face of some of the most fundamental things that we were ever taught.
So, as a lead-in to today’s conversation, let’s review some of the things that we’ve previously talked about.
- Most homeowners do up to 60% of their research BEFORE reaching out to a salesperson.
- Lead quality is much improved now versus 10 years ago, when cold call telemarketing dominated the lead generation landscape.
- Even though (or maybe because) lead quality has increased, industry-wide closing percentages have decreased.
- The time we get in-home is way less now than it used to be.
How do these concepts enter into today’s discussion?
Before we answer that, let’s talk a bit about the feature/benefit selling fundamental.
Going back to my days as an in-home one-call closer, I think about the sales training that I had. It was all about the system. I remember a sign that my general manager had on the wall behind his desk: D.F.W.T.S. (My one-call close friends will know exactly what that stood for.)
Whether it was an eight-, ten- or twelve-step system, one thing that was always a part of that system was a product presentation. It was simply a laundry list of features and benefits.
The thinking was two-fold. Surely, after all those features and benefits we would have hit their hot buttons, and, done properly, we had to have more features and benefits than our competition, right?
Today’s customer is different. How?
- Because of all the research they do, they can know as much—and sometimes more than—the salesperson. They already know the general features of a product that achieves the benefit that they are after.
- If they’ve spent all that time researching, BEFORE they reach out, you can bet that they have the benefits that they are after in mind.
- All of their knowledge creates even more of a desire to compare, hence the lower closing percentages.
- Whether it’s trying to control the process, or they’re just plain busy, the homeowners time crunch makes reciting a litany of features and benefits counter-productive.
Here’s why it’s all about the benefits.
- Benefits prove expertise. Conversations about benefits should start as early as the walk-around. Collaborating with the homeowner on potential issues not only gives you insights into potential benefits the homeowners might be looking for or need, but also allows you to exhibit your knowledge and define the benefit that your solution can provide.
- Benefits aren’t “selling.” Think about it this way: Every time you talk about a feature of your product, you are selling. Benefits are about solving issues.
- Benefits are emotional. Features are logical, but benefits are emotional. Certainly, eventually you’ll have to tie in some features to the benefits that you are promising, but in the feature/benefit scenario, you are acting contrarily to another old sales adage: “People buy on emotion and justify with logic.”
- Benefits can be a differentiator. Capturing and focusing ONLY on the benefits that the homeowner is after makes you different.
- Benefits are all about the homeowner. Simply put, features are about you, but benefits are about them.
Stay focused on the benefits and you stay focused on the homeowner. I promise you’ll close more sales that way.
Next time—how to ask for, and get, premium pricing every time.