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  • Dennis Sullivan

Quit trying to sell based on features and advantages! It's not enough.


People don’t buy features or advantages. They buy the benefit that is derived from features and advantages. But far too often business owners promote the features and leave it up to the customer to figure out how they may benefit. That's a mistake.

I can’t tell you how many times business owners try to impress clients with features that discuss the characteristics of a product. Most of the time the client is thinking, “So what? What does this have to do with me?”


Banks and credit unions often make this mistake. They may offer online bill pay with a new auto loan. But the online bill pay is simply a feature. They never discuss what the client cares about most.


Instead, use the FAB technique to discuss the Feature, Advantage and Benefit…

  • Feature = physical characteristics of a product;

  • Advantage = describes how a product can be used or will help the client; and

  • Benefit = the result the client receives from the product because of a specific advantage.


In the case of an auto loan, the bank or credit union may instead say, “With our online bill pay (feature) you can access your account anytime, anywhere (advantage) and never worry about missing payments that could harm your credit and increase your borrowing costs (benefit).


People don’t buy features or advantages. They buy the benefit that is derived from features and advantages. But far too often business owners promote the features and leave it up to the customer to figure out how they may benefit.


In most cases, the benefits for B2B products are one of just 3 things:
1. Save money.
2. Make money.
3. Save time.
For B2C products, the list of benefits may also include:
4. Make me feel good.
5. Make me look good.

That’s it. Just about every product can be linked to one of these benefits. Coffee? Make feel good in the morning. A diamond ring? Make me look good to my future wife. A new car? Save me money. A new software? Save my staff time. A new floor? Make my home look good and I’ll choose the seller that saves me money. Buy a book on Amazon? Save time.


Try it yourself. Take any product you sell and list a physical characteristic (feature) how the product can be used or will help a prospect (advantage) and result the client receives (benefit).

Here’s a key question to ask: What does it mean to the client? In other words, what can you say when a customer asks, “So what?” It’s two very powerful words you can ask that will force you to address the most important benefit to your client.


Here are some example of how companies drive home the benefit and don’t just talk about features and advantages.


Here is how Purple, the fast-growing direct-to-consumer mattress company, describes its product…


“Mattress technology hasn’t really changed in over 40 years. So rather than just repurpose memory foam like everybody else, we got our hands dirty with some hardcore macromolecular science. 30 patents later, the Purple® Smart Comfort Grid™ was born. Some call it ‘game-changing’ or even ‘breakthrough innovation’. We just love helping people sleep and feel better.”



In a recent ad, Ocean Spray describes the benefits of its new Cranberry Juice Cocktail…


“This is Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail that tastes real good. It’s also packed with powerful nutrients that cleanse and purify your body and help strengthen your immune system. Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail tastes good, good for you.”



We created a video for a kitchen and bath remodeling company illustrating the FAB in a 30-second ad…


Female Customer: Hello, I’m a Selective Sculptures Client.

Frantic Woman: And I’m a frantic person trying to renovate my kitchen.

Female Customer: What do you have in your hands?

Frantic Woman: (talking frantically and trying to juggle everything.) These are the business cards I collected from all the remodeling contractors. I also have samples from tile stores. These are from the countertop stores. Oh, and I have these from the cabinet stores. (As she reaches for them, everything in her hands falls to the floor.)

Female Customer: You know there’s an easier way to renovate your kitchen, right?

Frantic Woman: You mean I don’t have to run around meeting with contractors and salespeople at all these different stores?

Female Customer: Nope. Just go to Selective Sculptures. I can choose from tile, cabinets, countertops, fixtures … all in one place. I can even design everything myself, right there!

Frantic Woman: Wow. That sounds easy.

Female Customer: It is. (Close with logo, location and website.)




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