If you’ve been following our blog or have attended one of our sales workshops, no doubt you’ve heard us talk about how a Features & Benefits approach to selling is no longer viable in today’s complex, relationship-based world. But have we taken a step back to explain why?
If not, here are some of our top reasons:
- Features and benefits are used prematurely to create interest, rather than properly qualifying the prospect.
- Features and benefits are used to differentiate a product from its competition, but everybody’s benefits (and often the features) sound the same (“we can save you time and money, and we’ll stand behind the purchase 100%”). When competitors look the same, buying decisions are made on price.
- Features and benefits engage the prospect intellectually, and most buying decisions are made emotionally. Research shows that most people don’t remember the features or benefits after a week or so, and if they felt any enthusiasm at all, it too had disappeared after a week.
- Features and benefits are the seller’s bag of tricks (“we’ve got this, we’ve got that”), and may not be relevant to the prospect’s buying reasons. People buy for their reasons, not yours.
- Once you’ve “dumped” your features and benefits, the only thing left to do is close and handle objections and, all too often, discount your price. From there, it’s all pressure, and you can’t go back and qualify further.
So as 2014 comes to a close, remember to work with your sales reps to avoid the temptation to dive into product features & benefits too quickly. Much more important is their ability to establish trust, ask intelligent questions, and thoroughly qualify each opportunity.