One of the fundamentals of making a sale is to demonstrate value to your prospective buyer. Outlining the features, functions, and benefits (FFBs) of your products or services provides a wonderful selling tool. It demonstrates your knowledge, which builds trust; it links product and services knowledge directly to benefits, which identifies direct value to your customer; it may allow your product/services to “sell themselves;” and it easily leads you directly and smoothly into “the ask.”
Let’s look closely at each of the FFBs and why they matter:
1. Describe the Features. A specific feature of a product or service tells your customer “what it is.” An autofocus on a camera, copyediting services, and side airbags are all features.
Action item: Grab a piece of paper and a pen, take some time to reflect on your products and services, and jot down as many features as you can, then take the next step and begin to think about one or more functions for each feature. Why? Because you must tell your customers why they should care about those features.
2. Explain the Function. A function of a feature should explain “what it does.” The autofocus on a camera allows you to obtain correct focus on a subject. Copy-editing services will catch and correct spelling errors and poor grammar, and refine a sales pitch. Side airbags inflate upon side impact of your car.
Action item: Be sure to consider and write down as many possible functions as you can before you move on to the benefits — one feature may have several functions, so be sure to consider and write down as many possibilities before you move on to the final step.
3. Communicate the Benefits. The crucial last step is to answer the question that is lingering in the mind of your buyer: “Why should I care?” Why should I care about the autofocus that allows me to obtain correct focus, the copy-editing that will correct my mistakes, or the inflating side airbags? Those other salespeople told me all that too. So it is your job to follow through.
Action item: There may be more than one benefit to a function, so take some more time to reflect and jot those benefits down.
How to Bring it Home
Now that you have a list of features, their functions, and their corresponding benefits, you are in a better position to drive home the value to the customer in front of you. You can also deliver the benefits you have assessed are the most important ones to your customer. “This camera features an autofocus that will obtain correct focus on your subject, giving you a sharp professional photo. Other benefits are that you will not have to worry about focusing the camera and are more likely to catch those important moments.” “My copy-editing services will catch spelling errors and typos, correct grammar usage, and refine your sales pitch and provide you with a polished presentation that will demonstrate your knowledge and professionalism to your customers and facilitate sales.” “This car model features side airbags that inflate upon impact from the side. They offer you and your family more safety from side impact crashes … and I know your family’s safety is very important to you.”
Play with your list and get your staff to participate by creating their own lists. Don’t be afraid to have fun with it. If you and your staff deliver your features, functions, and benefits in person or over the phone, practice them until they feel natural. If your marketing materials and website need a little revitalization, you can use your FFBs there as well. Together, they are a great sales tool that builds credibility and trust between you and your customer that may result in an increase in sales. And you would like to make more sales, wouldn’t you?
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