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Why Benefits Tend To Out-Sell Features

Jun 26, 2008
Would you care if a newer model of your car has a 90 degree engine block, whose cylinder displacement had been enlarged and compression increased? And that the old single overhead cam, three-valve-per-cylinder-head had been replaced with a dual overhead, four-valve-per-cylinder head with variable cam phasing on both intake and exhaust cams?

Probably not. Infact if a salesman used those kinds of words to try to sell you a car it would definitely take longer, a lot longer to make a decision. Meanwhile you will be so pre-occupied to understand what a cam-shaft is and why it need to be in a right angled.

But what if the same car salesman told you that the car's new engine version allows for more power with no increase in fuel consumption? And they further gave you an example; that with the new version you would over-take another car moving at 60 KPH on a hill at half the time you would with the older model with absolute zero increase in fuel consumption. Which then gives you powerful accelerations as well as higher speed without increase in fuel cost.

I bet the second pitch would pique your interest for the new model. Obviously so as it gives you a feel of what the car will do for you. It explains to you the benefits of owning the new model. The former pitch would probably appeal to an expert mechanic, but gives the rest of us commoners a headache.

Desire, which in turn result to sales, is created by developing on the interests of the client. You do this by identifying an appropriate feature or a characteristic of your product and showing how they gain or benefit for that feature. Simply listing a feature or even worse, going on and on about a feature without showing the customer the benefits they get from having it, will work against conversion.

You realize in the above example that it is the new engine design that results to the powerful acceleration and fuel efficiency. However a good sales man will not harp on the engine design. Rather they will detail the benefits of the power you get from having the new engine design.

This by no means implies you should not include you product features or attributes in a sales copy. Infact a short detailing of the dynamics, technology or mechanics of a feature can exhibit expertise. Just do not forget to connect how those feature turn to benefit to the user. Nearly always, benefits out-sell features but often work best in tandem online or off.
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