Features or Benefits: What’s the Difference?

Do you ever have to talk to customers about your products or services? Do you focus on the features or benefits?  I often see presentations or sales pitches where the speaker talks about the features of their product. This sounds fine until you think about what features really are.

Features are what define your product. Features are what your product has or does. But, talking about features means that we are talking in the language of the producer, the developer or the deliverer of the product.

We need to talk in the language of the customer or client.

Feature or Benefit?

A customer or client is interested in the benefits of the product or the service.  Benefits are what will help the customer improve his or her business.

One way to make sure that we do this is to prepare. Before you visit a customer, write down the features of the product or service – if you know your product, you know the features. Now, next to every feature, write down the benefit to the customer that comes from that feature.

Example in action:

Feature = quad-core processor

Benefit = your computer reacts quicker

If you cannot think of a customer benefit of the feature, ask yourself whether you need to tell the customer about that feature.

Once you have your feature and your benefit clarified, decide how you will deliver that message. This is a good structure to use:

The (product or service) gives you (benefit to the customer) because of (feature of your product or service).

Possible statement to use:

Our x65 PC lets you run 3D simulations thanks to the quad-core processor.

As you can see in the example, the x65 PC has a quad-core processor. This is our industry jargon though (the feature). What the customer cares about is 3D simulations (the benefit).

So remember, before you talk to the customer, think about the benefit that your feature brings. If you can not think of a benefit, why do you need to tell the customer about the feature?  Let us know of any other tips, in the comments area below, that have worked for you when presenting your product or service to your customer.  Also, take a look at our seminar on selling across cultures for more information.