Answer the Customer’s Question: What’s In It For Me?
Why do we buy anything? People buy products and services that fulfil a need – that benefit them in some way. For example, a man may buy a large saw, not because he wants a saw but because he wants to cut down the large tree in his garden. The brochure tells him that the blade has been strengthened. The man doesn’t care about this. He just wants to know that the blade won’t break half way through cutting the tree.
It may seem that there is only a slight difference between a feature (the strengthened blade) and a benefit (the tree is cut down quickly and easily), but it is one which can make a large impact on your profit.
Selling the benefits of your product shows your prospective customers how it can improve their life/business etc. It’s your job to ensure they instantly know why they should buy, and your website, brochure and any other sales copy should reinforce this. Don’t leave it up to your potential customer to join the dots. In the brief moments you have their attention you need to be certain that they know exactly what your product is offering them. Remember, selling should be all about your customer, not your product. The first question your prospect will ask is: What’s in it for me? It’s your job to answer them.
Match Prospects to Benefits
Do we know enough about every prospect to say how our product will specifically benefit them? Not always – but there are ways to narrow down which benefits are likely to be of interest to particular sections of businesses or consumers. With the help of targeted b2b and b2c data, it is possible to identify and address the specific needs of individual market groups. Direct marketing gives you the opportunity to segregate your prospects into groups based on age, gender, interests, occupation etc, so that your marketing can tell the right people about the right benefits to them. E.g. A large plasma TV can be sold to the male market as the ultimate companion for a die-hard football fan, highlighting the surround sound and the screen size which makes a person feel as though you’re at the match. To your female market the TV can be sold as the essential tool for a girl’s night in. (Show me a female who isn’t going to be impressed by a larger than life sized Johnny Depp on their screen!) The better you target benefits to your customers, the more powerful your marketing will become.
Any sales copy should instantly tell your prospects what’s in it for them, making it clear what problem it will solve and how it will change their life. But, it’s also persuasive to show them what the absence of this product will mean for them. Fear can be a great motivator in buying decisions. Anti-wrinkle products are proficient in this tactic.
Benefits… Benefits… Benefits?
Companies often make the mistake of focusing on their achievements or harping on about their mission statement – whilst these are strong supporting features of a brand, they alone won’t sell your product. You can move on to describe the features later, but the key benefits should be at the forefront of your sales copy. It’s worth reminding yourself of the difference between features and benefits at the start and end of writing your copy. Sometimes it’s easy to get carried away with fancy language and huge claims, rather than sticking to the most important factor – identifying the prospects’ needs and selling the solution.