What Makes a Sale? Learn the 2 Secrets to Making Sales Every Time
Have you ever had the experience of walking into a store and being greeted by a salesperson who wishes to accompany you in-store to help you find what you need? It happens all the time in India. Whether the ultimate goal is to help the customers or just to have an eye on them or to make a commission for sales made you will find these salespeople stalking you. Don’t be alarmed if you happen to experience this!
My point here is not to tell you that you will experience that, but rather to help you focus on what these salespeople tell you.
By the way, you can also watch my video on YouTube on this article here.
A Typical Indian Store Experience
So, let’s say you walk into a toy store (I chose toys because I have two kids who get excited when they walk into a store). You are greeted by a salesperson who starts stalking you all through the aisles of the store. It can get creepy and irritating at times, but bear with me. You stop in front of a section filled with puzzles. You are trying to make up your mind. Your kids are pulling down one box after another. The salesperson seems like he’s getting a mild heart attack whenever a box comes tumbling down. Finally, he walks up to you and says, “can I help you?” You tell him you’re looking for some good puzzles for your kids. He looks at the shelf and quickly brings down 3-4 games and starts talking about them.
Here’s the interesting thing. I’m going to give you two possible explanations that the salesperson presents to you.
“This box is the perfect size for your kids. It is easy to carry around and has an attractive, colorful packaging. You see, kids love colors, and this will get them to open the box every time they see it. The puzzles are also cut into perfect shapes and will fit into each other perfectly. The easy re-seal tape on the box will help keep the contents of the box intact always.
The highlight of the box is that it is very lightweight but packed with features for easy transport.”
That was the first explanation. Listen to the other version.
“Here’s one game that, I think, will suit both your kids and keep them busy for hours. The puzzles are challenging and will trigger brain activity. Thinking skills will greatly improve, plus your kids can get ready to crack any Mensa test over time. If they solve all the puzzles in the box, they will surely come out at the top of their class. There are many puzzles, but this one has more proven results than any other. What’s more is that the game does not need any set-up time – it’s just play-right-out-of-the-box. I think you should really consider this.
One last thing, we’re running an exclusive special promo on this brand today. You can get up to 45% off.”
Saying that, he hands over the box to you.
Which of the above explanations will convince you to buy the box?
The first explanation completely focuses on the features of the product. Notice these:
- perfect size
- easy to carry around
- attractive, colorful packaging
- perfect shapes
- easy re-seal tape
- lightweight but packed with features
- help keep the contents of the box intact always (this is a benefit)
Each of these is a description of what the product looks, feels and has. That’s exactly what ‘features’ are. I’ll give you more examples towards the end of the article.
Now, consider the second explanation. That was convincing and appealed to the ‘parent’, didn’t it? The explanation was filled with benefits of the product. Take a look:
- busy for hours (saves you time)
- challenging and will trigger brain activity (makes the kids smarter)
- thinking skills will greatly improve (every parent wants this for their children)
- more proven results (this is a feature)
- ready to crack any Mensa test (preparation for high-IQ situations)
- top of their class (competitive advantage)
- does not need any set-up time (saves time)
- exclusive special promo (saves you money)
History (both personal and real-world) has examples to show that people are more inclined to buy when they hear the benefits of a certain feature that a product boasts having.
Thinking back, when I first started working on Ads for paid search I was taught that I needed to include ‘benefits’ over ‘features’ in the ad copy. I struggled with it. For a very long time. I couldn’t differentiate between benefits and features. More often that not I felt that the line of difference between the two was very thin and could cross-over any time. I was wrong, and it took a very long time for me to figure it out.
I was also stumped by the question, “If I write only about the benefits of the product, how will my customers know which feature is responsible for the benefits?”
Now, that may not be the case with you, but if you still are looking for that simple to understand differences between these two marketing terms, scroll down to view the table.
People are always attracted to products with benefits, not features. Even if they were to look for features (for example a microwave convection oven with a ‘sun-dry’ feature), they are looking for what they can achieve because that feature is present! In this above example, they can sun-dry vegetables in minutes as opposed to having to put them out in the sun and waiting for hours or days to get them completely dried out.
Do you see the point?
Features are important. They differentiate one product from another. But the benefits the features make available to the customer are even more important.
So, here’re the steps you need to take in order to convey the benefits and features that will convert into sales.
- Identify the features of the product you’re selling
- For each feature, write down all the benefits you can think of (think outside the box)
- Categorize the benefits
- Write about each category in your marketing copy
- Don’t ignore the features in your copy
To make it easier for you, I’ve put together a template that you can get for free. Just enter the details into the template and it should make it easier for you to sort out the entire list for use in your sales copy.
Benefits can be broadly classified into three categories:
- Physical/Mental/Spiritual improvement
Take a minute and see how all three categories were covered in the second explanation.
As promised earlier, here’s the table comparing the differences between benefits and features.
On a final note, I’ll leave you with some screenshots of descriptions of products from various online stores that you can use to further understand how features and benefits are connected and how you can use them in you marketing copy – be it a sales letter, or a webinar, or an email to your list.