Saturday, 4 October 2008


How do we discover the real benefits of our product or service? The best way is to complete a FEATURES/ADVANTAGES/BENEFITS analysis.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines a feature as a - ‘distinctive or characteristic part of a thing’ and an advantage as a - ‘better position, superiority, favorable circumstances’. A benefit is defined as’ ‘do good to, receive benefit (by thing)’.

Product features should be fairly obvious to anyone selling their product for more than a few weeks. If you have staff that has been selling a product for some time and they don’t know its features you really should (no offence intended) advise them to change their profession. Acknowledging that some products are more complicated than others the fact remains we can’t sell what we don’t understand.

To start have your sales staff list down six to ten of the most important features of your best-understood product or service, (ask them just for fun). Then check that they only have features listed buy checking if what they have written qualifies under ‘The Concise Oxford’ definition above. Examples may be, it has two handles, it is conducted over 3 days, it has a 3-litre engine, it has river views, or it has a 1000-meg ‘Pentium’ chip.

Then have them give each of the features at least two advantages. In the Pentium chip example the advantages could be, faster processing, quicker programme loading, superior movie viewing or quicker web browsing.

The final step is to review the features and advantages in light of the definitions and turn the advantages into real customer benefits. To do this it is best to line the three headings up side-by-side and turn the three categories into a sentence joining them with the words (feature) “which means” (advantage) “which gives you” (benefit). An example is… this computer has a 1000-megahertz chip…‘which means’… faster file processing…‘which gives you’…an increased work output over a shorter time period. In the case of the two handled pot it could be ‘this pot has two handles which means it is better balanced when being carried improving your chance of getting from A to B with out spilling the contents.


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