The Key to Jolting Your Sales NOW

Recently I was on the subway getting to a meeting in midtown Manhattan.  During 20 minute ride two sets entrepreneurs went through our subway car trying to sell something.

One was successful, one left empty handed.

From the following two scenarios, can you guess which one was successful?

Photo by Riomaro
Photo by Riomaro



#1:  came in and started playing his trumpet.  As he continued to play, he slowly walked through the subway car with a hat upside down in front of him with a CD inserted inside he was selling for $7 of what looked to be a recording of his music.  His music was good and I could see some folks enjoying listening to it.


10 minutes later…


Photo by Jen Gallardo
Photo by Jen Gallardo

#2:  a group of 4 guys came into the car.  They said they were dancing their way through the summer and instead of making money on the street illegally.


They turned on their boom box to some cool rap and proceeded to breakdance, including flips, twirls, and spins that are difficult to comprehend being able to do on a crowded subway car, let alone in an open space.

At the end, they said they were studying to go to college and get business degrees so their could open their own dance studio in East New York. Then one went through the car with a large hat asking for contributions for their education.


So, who was successful?  If you guessed #2, you are correct.

Why?  Because of the fundamental difference between Features and Benefits.

Features—a physical or tangible component of your product / service.


Using a product example, a bicycle:  weighs only 23 pounds, has 21 gears, Shimano brakes, 110PSI high-pressure tires, and is designed light and built for speed.

And for service-based businesses, an example would be a chiropractor’s office:  we offer a 10 minute evaluation and assessment of your pain (or situation), then do a series of 3 to 5 treatments over the course of two weeks, followed be an additional assessment, and so on.

Benefits—the non-physical, emotional and intangible reactions to your product / service.

In our product example:  this super-light, super-fast bicycle with 21 gears will make sure you can get up that insane mountain you have been training for all these months.  When you get to the top, you’ll look behind you and know you just conquered that amazing ride you’ve been dreaming about….

In our service example:  your initial evaluation with our top chiropractor will immediately ensure you are getting the exact treatment you need for your situation, and as quickly as possible.  With this you can relax and let our expert chiropractor do his (her) magic on your body.  Watch how quickly your body will respond to his (her) touch and adjustments.

Question:  Do you think people buy from features or benefits?

If you guess benefits, regardless the product or service you sell (or whom you sell it to), you are correct!

Really.  Including B-2-B businesses!


Because people want to know how they will benefit from using your product or service.  Yeah, sure it is helpful knowing how many gears the bike has, but really getting them to feel the accomplishment of getting to the top of the amazing mountain is what is going to override the features.

If they feel the possibility of owning your product (or hiring you for your service), you will make the sale so much easier to accomplish.

People buy on emotions!

Still not convinced?  Look at Apple’s iPhones.  For many, many people, if it ain’t an iPhone (or other Apple product) they are not interested.  It is NOT because of the features (although this certainly helps) it is because they have positioned themselves quite successfully as a hip, cool, state-of-the-art company.  And people want a piece of THAT in their lives.

STILL not convinced?  Park your rear-end in front of the TV for 30 minutes.  Watch two cable stations:  Home Shopping Network and QVC.  Just watch what these masters of selling do:  they can take the ugliest piece of (you know what) and sell millions of them.  How they do it is mention (briefly) a feature and then spend 10 minutes talking about all the benefits of it.


Features tell, benefits sell.

So if it is in fact benefits that sell your product or service, where are you putting your marketing resources:  features or benefits?

If the former, I highly, (I mean highly) recommend you immediately shift your energy into the latter.

And if you do not immediately see results, please e-mail me.  I’m not kidding!


Action Steps for the Week

Take a look at your product or service.  Make a list of the top 5 features of it.

Next, write as many benefits as you can think of for each of those features.  Go nuts with this and then pick the top 10-15 of them (depending on how you will use this information.)

HERE’S THE CATCH:  Do this from your customers’ perspective, not yours!

If you are not sure their perspective, find out.  There are many ways to get this feedback from them:  surveys, calling them, standing on the street corner and asking them, you name it.

Once you are clear on what the benefits are, you are now ready to put your promotional materials together.  Briefly mention the feature and then all its benefits.  Do this for the top features.

NOTE:  avoid grandiose claims like, “The world’s best…” or “You’ll love the taste of…”  That stuff does not work.  Instead, back it up with statistics, data, survey results, scientific discoveries, etc.  Third party endorsements are golden.

Lastly, use testimonials that add credibility to what you promote.

Do these to your marketing and you will most likely be amazed at the quick results you will see.