Simon Dethridge at BIG Consulting shared this helpful guide.
A Common Sales Mistake
Are you a boring your buyer?
Many Salespeople (and indeed experienced marketing teams) are wasting lots of effort (and millions of marketing dollars) pitching the wrong offers to their buyers.
In the desire to dazzle the customer with how good our offer is, we lose sight of what the buyer needs to hear to say “yes”.
Customers don’t buy features, they buy benefits.
Buyers are trying to make a decision that involves risk, money and change. They will have lots of questions running through their head when you are pitching to them.
- Will your solution deliver the promised outcomes?
- Is your offer the optimal choice in the market?
- Does the stated price deliver good value?
- How would this change improve on the status quo?
The key question that buyers grapple with is:
“But what’s in it for me?”
Drawing a distinction between Features and Benefits
You need to know your FAB
Let’s define what is the distinction between Features and Benefits, and introduce something in the middle as a bridge – it’s called an Advantage.
Features are the WHAT
Features are indisputable attributes or characteristics
- Features are what a product or service has in its specification, its make up or technologies
- Features can be both tangible or intangible
- Features don’t change – that is why they are indisputable
The problem with selling features on their own is that you are talking only about the product or the service.
It might be interesting to a technical buyer to know what is under the hood, but not all buyers are so interested at a technical level.
“You should buy our computer because it has 16GB of RAM!”
But the common retort from a buyer hearing about the feature only is to say…
“Sounds interesting, but SO WHAT?”
Advantages are the HOW
Advantages go a step further and explain how the feature works
- Advantages describe the functionality of the feature
- Advantages illustrate what the feature DOES or DOESN’T DO
- They, therefore, use verbs – doing words – to assist in describing the functionality.
“The advantage of more RAM is that your computer
can process more commands per second, allowing you to
run more programs simultaneously.”
This is better – it provides more insight, but it is still talking about the computer and not about the buyer’s ultimate outcome.
Benefits are the WHY!
Benefits deliver the outcomes or end results that flow to people or businesses
- Benefits no longer talk about attributes or functions, they go a step further and focus on outcomes
- Benefits state clearly WHY the solution is compelling
- People can enjoy outcomes such as performance, convenience, reliability
- Businesses can enjoy reductions in risk or improvements in economical outcomes
- The key point to communicate is what flows from the product to people, users, stakeholders or their businesses that answer WHY they should buy it
“So you can enjoy more productivity at work,
and get home to your family sooner!”
No longer is the pitch about the product and its functions, it’s now about delivering compelling outcomes that deliver more pleasure or less pain.
So, should I sell FAB's or BAF's?
It's time to turn the FAB on its head
Traditionally salespeople have been taught to deliver solutions using the FAB construction.
They start by outlining the features – all the technical attributes that describe WHAT it has.
They then continue to convert those technical specifications or jargon terms into functional claims of HOW they work.
And finally, if the customer is still awake, they get to the interesting piece which is the buyer’s outcome – the benefits of WHY.
This approach is clearly not customer-centric, it is risky and far less effective.
So why not turn FAB’s into BAF’s!
Lead with the why
If customers buy outcomes and not attributes, then why not lead with the WHY upfront.
You have explored needs earlier in your sales process and hopefully have a good handle on what you need to solve with your solution.
So why not solve that crucial customer’s question of “What’s in it for them” upfront?
“You mentioned to me that productivity is important to you as you like to get your work done with minimal fuss, right?
And you also told me how much you value getting home from work to spend some quality family time before your kids go to bed. Do I have that right too?
Therefore, I suggest we order for you the computer that delivers you superior performance and maximum productivity.
In doing so you can get more done in your working day by accessing multiple programs at the one time and completing tasks in less time.
So upgrading to the higher 16GB of RAM will get you home to your family on time.
Shall we place that order for you?”
“Thank you so much. You had me at hello!”