What do you sell? Features or Benefits?

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Is there a difference between features and benefits?

Many companies interchange these two words, and others that don’t interchange them still do not have a clear definition of each. Not understanding the difference may be the difference between winning your next sale and losing it.

Let me start with features. Features are what your product or service does, it may include such things as a listing of various components or attributes that help the customer to understand what is being sold.

Benefits, on the other hand, is what your product will do for the customer, or how the product will improve the customer’s overall outlook. Benefits are specific to each customer.

Make sure that you understand that last sentence, “Benefits are specific to each customer.” Many people may buy the same product with the same features (features don’t change per customer) but reap different benefits. Let me give you a simple household example: A Toaster.

Toaster Features:

1) Extra wide slots
2) 4 slots for toast
3) Space-saving design
4) Choice of colors

While the features are the same for whoever is buying the toaster, the benefits to the customer vary. The following three customers bought the same toaster expecting different benefits:

1) Customer 1 has an olive green kitchen.
2) Customer 2 loves toasted bagels with cream cheese, salmon and capers.
3) Customer 3 has very little counter space but has to cook breakfast for a family of 6

Are you selling your product and service features, or are you taking time to understand what your customer sees as a benefit?

Put simply, a feature is what you are selling; a benefit is what the customer is looking for.

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