Features, Functions, and Benefits, Oh My!

Features, Functions, and Benefits, Oh My!

Following three simple steps may make the difference between success and blowing a sale.

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 is a wonderful selling tool. It demonstrates your knowledge, which builds trust; it links product and service knowledge directly to benefits, which identifies direct value to your customer; it may allow your products or services to “sell themselves;” and it easily leads you directly and smoothly into “the ask.”

Feature. A specific feature of a product or service tells your customer “What it is.” An auto-focus on a camera, copy-editing services, and side airbags are all features. 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 think about one or more functions for each feature. Why? Because a feature is meaningless to your customers if they do not understand what advantage the feature provides to them.

Function. A function of a feature should explain the advantage of a feature, “What it does.” The auto-focus 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. 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—benefits.

Benefit. 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 auto-focus that allows me to obtain correct focus, the copy-editing that will correct my mistakes, or the inflating side airbags? Other salespeople may have listed the features, and perhaps the functions, but you can make the sale by answering that question. It is your job to follow through. There may be more than one benefit to a function, so take some more time to reflect and jot those benefits down.

Bring it home. Once you have an understanding of features, functions, and their benefits, you are in a better position to drive home the value to your customer. Assuming you’ve asked some questions about what your customer wants, you can also focus on presenting the benefits that are most important to your customer. This camera features an auto-focus that will obtain correct focus on your subject giving you a sharp professional photo. Another benefit is that it can focus faster than you, so you are more likely to catch those important moments. Copy-editing services will catch and correct spelling, typo, and grammar errors and refine your sales pitch, providing you with a polished presentation that will demonstrate your capability 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 have your staff create their own lists. 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, but not canned. Role-play helps and makes a great team activity. If your marketing materials and website need a little more drive, include your FFBs there as well. This approach is a great sales tool that builds credibility and trust and motivates your customer to help you make that sale. And you would like to make more sales, wouldn’t you?