You’ve likely heard about features and benefits, but do you know which one to use to get the best results—and how to do it?
Well, imagine—like many other Americans—you’ve decided to stop renting and take the recommended path to purchase a home…
The first thing you’ll likely do is hire a real estate agent to assist you with your search for the perfect home.
A home where you look forward to hanging your hat and laying down your head at the end of a long day.
After weeks of phone calls and online searches for new homes your realtor, Susie, calls you. She has found the perfect house to fit all your needs.
When you go to the open house, you see that the house really is amazing. It has new stainless appliances, the backyard is huge, and there are hardwood floors throughout!
At this point you’re almost ready to make an offer, but… what is that nagging feeling? You aren’t quite sold. So you make a tough decision to pass on this one and keep looking.
What went wrong?
It seemed like the perfect house. But why weren’t you sure it’s perfect for you?
Susie told you that the house had A, B, and C. Sure enough—A, B, and C were there as promised. You saw the features of this home with your own eyes.
However, often that just isn’t enough.
Susie might have succeeded in making the sale if she used a different approach: One that not only listed the features of the home—like the new appliances and a nice sized backyard—but an approach that made you feel as though you needed and wanted those features.
Use Features AND Benefits to Paint a Picture
When the realtor gave you the features of the house she missed a crucial step in the selling process. She failed to “paint the picture” of you owning and enjoying that home for the rest of your life.
To effectively paint the picture—and help the potential buyer feel like the home is already theirs—you have to focus on the benefits. Don’t think that simply listing the features is enough…
Ask “Why” to Turn Features into Benefits – and Get More Sales
The simplest way to find your product’s benefits is to look at the features and ask “why.”
Why is this something that the customer needs and wants?
For example, here are the three key features of the home… and how Susie could have turned them into benefits by asking herself, “why?”
1. New stainless steel appliances
Lowe’s turns features into benefits for greater sales.
Having new stainless steel appliances is a nice feature. It might be enough to sell some of the less savvy homebuyers on the market. But to paint a picture for the potential buyer you must focus on the benefits.
- Newer appliances are more energy efficient. That’s a feature. Why? Because they’ll use less energy—and water—over time. Why does that matter? It will save the buyer money and help the environment. That’s a benefit. We could also go further, asking “why,” and creating deeper benefits, such as what the buyer could do with that extra money.
- Stainless steel is easier to clean, saving you time and effort. A deeper benefit is that your house is more likely to be sparkling when visitors drop in.
- New appliances come with warranties—just in case they break. A deeper benefit of that is saved money, less hassle, and security that your purchase will last a long time.
What a great way to appeal to a first-time home buyer!
They’re already spending money on a down-payment, homeowner’s association fees, closing costs, and other related expenses. What a way to ease the mind—and their willingness to open their checkbook!
Let’s do another example:
2. How about the huge backyard?
The value of your home should increase over time and a larger lot is a great selling point. But again, it’s only a feature. To explain why it’s important to a homebuyer, look at the benefits of owning a large lot:
- As land becomes more scarce, it becomes more valuable. Having a large backyard will only add to the future price tag of the home as the area is developed. If you want to sell in 10 years, that’s a huge benefit!
- In the meantime, the giant open grassy space will be amazing for your dog, Fifi, to run, stretch, and play. She’s going to sleep so much better than when she was cooped up in an apartment. Deeper benefit? She’ll quit waking you up in the middle of the night! It’s a win for both of you!
- Also, don’t forget about all the friends you can fit into your backyard for parties and barbecues!
3. The house also has awesome hardwood floors
The little amount of carpet in the home is reason enough to purchase! The sellers redid the floor just last year—it’s a stunning choice. But we still have a feature without explaining the benefits, such as …
- Hardwood floors will eliminate many indoor allergy issues. Huge amounts of allergens are trapped in carpets. What’s more important than your family’s health?
- The floors will be easier to clean and require less maintenance. If you spill something all you have to do is wipe it up… saving you time, frustration, and the embarrassment of stained carpet.
- Hardwood floors can easily last a lifetime. Often for generations. Not needing to ever replace them is a huge monetary benefit… A deeper benefit? Not having the worry of replacing them!
Use Benefits For More Powerful Copy and Better Results
Now… Think about the different outcome Susie could have had from her presentation. In the second scenario, Susie not only listed the features of your potential new home, she illustrated how you would benefit from these specific features.
- You’ll save money…
- You won’t have to worry about the hassle of repairing or replacing pricey appliances…
- Your dog, Fifi, will have the room to run and have fun…
- You’ll suffer less from allergies…
If Susie had given you the second presentation of the home—instead of “the list” of features—you would have walked into the house already picturing yourself enjoying the benefits of living there.
The difference is that in scenario number two, Susie described the benefits attached to each feature. She took your desire to a whole new level by asking, “why?”
It’s not just a shiny new appliance; it’s a shiny new appliance that’ll save you time, money, and headaches.
How to Describe Your Features as Benefits
To turn your features into compelling benefits, you must first determine the features of your product or service. If you’re not sure what those are, start by asking these questions:
- Does it take less time than your competitors to work?
- Is it easier to use?
- Is your product more cost effective than others?
- Are your results longer-lasting?
And don’t stop there! Keep listing all the features you can think of.
Then, ask yourself why each of those features matter. Keep asking “why?” until you can’t ask it anymore and you’ll have your deepest benefits. You still get to highlight all the great things about your product or service, but the customer truly feels like purchasing it will improve their life.
According to Clayton Makepeace in his book, Two Hours to More Profitable Sales Copy,
Prospects don’t want features. They want you to change their lives for the better.
That’s the ultimate goal: To make your customer feel like your product is the thing that will positively change their lives.
Sure, you can close a sale here and there by listing the features of your product. But you’ll make more sales by explaining to your customer why you can help them. Whether that’s to save money, worry less, or improve their life!
Just remember, people don’t want to be sold. But they do want to be wealthier and happier. If you can express that your product will get them there, you’ve got a customer eager to purchase.
So what do you think? Have I left anything out? Comment below to get the conversation started!
- How to Use Features and Benefits to Gain Higher Conversions - November 23, 2013