Are you talking Features while your prospects are listening for Benefits? More companies, small and large, make this crucial mistake all too often. Sadly, it can be a very expensive foul-up.
A number of years ago, I was retained by a technology company to help write the messaging for their new product. I faced a room full of very bright engineers. I asked one question. “Tell me something great about your new product.” The answers I got were astounding. The all told me about all of the new tech that went into creating the internals of the product. At this point I held up a pre-made sign, which said, “I Don’t Care!”.
Now, it wasn’t that I really didn’t care, I did. I was getting paid to write the marketing and branding messaging and none of those answers helped one whit. Then, I asked Question #2, “So, why did your company spend all this money on this new piece of technology?” And now I got THE answer. It’s 41% faster than the leading competitor. Hallelujah! The sun came out and the birds started singing. I had my message.
You see, the engineers were talking about the Feature of their product, of which they were justly proud. But no consumer thinks like that. We all have that one radio station that plays in our heads. You know it, WII-FM. What’s In It For Me.
So Don’t Talk Features, When Your Customers Want Benefits.
Talk to entrepreneurs about their product, or computer engineers about the new doo-hickey they just invented and about 75% of the time you’ll hear them wax prolific about their product’s features.
“Did you know it’s built of a brand-new tungsten and titanium infused alloy? Yes, that’s right.”
“We have four, two gigabyte chips. Four!”
“Believe it or not, we make our breads and muffins from raw flour produced in an actual grist mill. That’s unheard of!”
OK, I got it. Your product is different because of the way it’s produced. BIG DEAL. Even if I understood about gigaplatzes and terra bytes of flour alloys, I still wouldn’t care. I’m a self-centered consumer (as we all are). What I want to know is, “How will this make my life better? Period.”
Here’s an easy-peasy way to fix this Benefits problem and convert more sales.
One of the most difficult things for me, as a professional copywriter and brand strategist, is to wean my clients off the feature and onto the benefit. A number of years ago I found a wonderfully simple and effective way to do this in an article by ad wizard Roy H. Williams.
Mr Williams wrote (as I recollect) that a top salesman he knew once explained how he avoided getting caught in the “features trap”. Whenever he was speaking with a prospect, he trained himself mentally to add the words, “…Which Means…” after every feature he mentioned.
Let’s see what happens to our three sample statements when we apply “…Which Means…”
“Our new golf clubs are made of a brand-new tungsten/titanium alloy WHICH MEANS your iron shots will fly 6-7 % further. That’s like hitting your 7 iron 160 yards instead of 150.”
“We use four, two-gigabyte chips WHICH MEANS a job that now takes two hours will take only 34 minutes.”
“We use grist mill produced raw flour WHICH MEANS the taste of our muffins and breads is truly authentic, and unmistakable when compared to foods made with highly processed flour.”
Practice this “… Which Means” drill in your copywriting and you’ll never again lose a sale because the prospect failed to see how his or her life would be made better by purchasing your product.
Here’s A Great Head Start For You (A Real Benefit)
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