What’s in it for your customers?
Every one of your prospects is asking themselves that key question whenever they make a purchase decision. Our job as marketers and business owners is to create tools and materials that help answer that question simply and emphatically. So whenever you go on a sales meeting or prepare your small business marketing collateral or web site, make sure that you’ve given a lot of thought to the difference between the FEATURES and BENEFITS of your product or service.
This is actually a common mistake, and something that I talk to our clients a lot about. The problem starts with the gap between the seller and purchaser of any given product. As the people selling or marketing an item, we know it inside and out. We understand what it does and the things that make it unique and incredible. We innately know why everyone should want one. The customer though is a stranger. They know little or nothing and often need to rely on us to help them make good purchase decisions. We, on the sales and marketing side are obsessed with features. They are often our differentiators and the things that we get excited about.
When I ran marketing communications for a global baby toy manufacturer, our company revolved around features. If we came up with a baby seat that played seven soothing songs while our competitor’s product played only four, that was a good day in the office. After all, we were fighting a war for shelf space against larger, more mature companies like Fisher-Price; anything that could give us extra ammunition when we went into battle was important. And seven songs is definitely more — and better — than four.
But what’s in it for the end customer? Do they care how many songs it plays? Our customers, regardless of the industry, are obsessed with benefits. They want to know how their lives or businesses will improve by making this purchase. To the business owner, the benefit seems obvious because their extensive knowledge on the subject prevents them from being objective.
There’s no doubt that features are important… But they usually aren’t meaningful unless connected with a benefit for your customers which you can easily express in both conversation and collateral. Before you do anything else, make sure you tell your customers what’s in it for them. It may be the most productive change you ever make to your sales and small business marketing approach.