The first post in this sales series focused on product knowledge and the ways sales reps can use that information to help make a sale. Presenting products to potential customers is when understanding features and benefits becomes crucial to an effective sales presentation.
In order for sales reps to be successful, they need to know how to translate the features of a product into benefits to the customer. An article from ClickZ suggests, “Focus on emotions, not intellect. Emotions are the gateway to making a buying decision. Benefits are the language of emotion. Features are the language of logic. Even people who insist they buy logically or based on features do so because that’s what makes them feel better.”
To put this into perspective, think about why you buy clothes. If you were to buy purely on logic, you would only buy clothes to keep you warm. If you were to buy with emotion, you would buy from a store with the best sale, a designer with the best style, a line of clothing made with the best materials, etc. When you buy with emotion, you are looking for benefits.
Step One: Determine Customer Desires, Needs and Problems
In order for sales reps to be able to translate the features of a product into benefits to the customer, they need to find out what the desires, needs, and problems are for the customer. With that knowledge, the sales rep can explain the direct benefits of their product.
How does a salesperson find out the customer’s desires, needs, and problems?
Simple. Some needs are universal: time, wealth, esteem, ease of use, convenience, and security. If the sales reps can uncover how their product meets each of these universal needs, they are one step closer to defining why a customer needs their product. Some needs are more important to one customer than to another. For example, if a sales rep is trying to sell me sunscreen with a high sun-protection factor, I would be more inclined to buy because of an explanation that focuses on how much longer I can stay out in the sun without getting burned versus how inexpensive the product is to buy. A different customer may need a different explanation to persuade him or her to keep listening.
Another approach to uncovering needs is to ask customers what is important to them. If sales reps don’t ask, they may never know!
Step Two: Translate the Features Into Benefits to the Customer
Now that the salesperson understands the customer’s needs, he or she can tailor their description to fit those needs.
Share these phrases with your sales reps to help them explain benefits:
What this means to you is…
This allows you to…
Using these phrases will help the sales rep put the features into words that relate directly to the customer’s needs. Going back to my example, if a sales rep uncovered my need for long lasting sunscreen, he or she could explain the benefits of the sunscreen like this:
Sunscreen prevents the sun’s ultraviolet radiation from reaching the skin. Our sunscreen has an SPF of 30. What that means to you is that you can spend 30 times longer than you used to be able to without getting burned.
With this statement, I can picture how I would benefit from purchasing the sunscreen. Personalizing the benefits is the goal.
Do your reps struggle with translating features into benefits? Do they have a hard time uncovering the needs of potential customers? If you’re not sure, listen in on calls or call in yourself and see what it’s like to be a customer. Provide telesales training for your staff so they can become confident sales reps that better understand buyer needs and can easily match products to meet those needs.
Stay Tuned: This post is the second in a series of three on helping reps close more sales. Coming up is the final post on asking for the sale: a critical and sometimes uncomfortable step to closing the sale. Find out how to ask for and close the sale with confidence!