When To Market runs training courses in the UK, we do work on features, advantages and benefits, and how to get your prospect interested in your proposal.
This is largely based around the benefits that you set out for them. Interestingly, I find that benefits are based around just four factors. And this may make it easier to you to consider benefits. The four key factors in understanding benefits are these. And they are dead easy to remember because there is a certain symmetry about them. They are;
1. Saving money
2. Saving time
3. Making you feel good
4. Making you look good
Saving money and saving time are two key benefits in many business situations. Aftermore if you're in a business to business sales environment, chances are you can really only motivate people around saving money or saving time. Because even if someone is motivated by a purchase that will make them feel good, they are less likely to admit to it, because they are spending someone else's money. There are some exceptions which I'll cover shortly. You will also recognize that saving money and saving time are closely linked. If you can demonstrate that the computer software you are selling will save the customer two hours a week for each of their staff, a company director will clearly be interested because he or she knows that this represents a saving in money.
However there are some products such as the microwave that are much more about saving time than saving money. I suspect that there are few people who consider buying a microwave because they feel it will reduce their electricity bills. Having a microwave is all about cutting down both the time that it takes to prepare your food and also even more significantly the amount of cooking time. The opposite is also true. I had a boss once who had a philosophy all around doing anything to reduce company cost. This is of course what anyone running an organization wants to do. In this instance though, he did not worry about how much time it took to complete jobs, he was only interested in avoiding investments in technology and processes. Now in this instance of course it can be a false economy.
Then there are products or services that can be sold based around things that make us feel good or look good. This is particularly true for those people making consumer purchase decisions ie where they're spending their own money. Ultimately if you're spending your own money you are not answerable to anyone else and then it does not matter what criteria you decide to use in making your decision. Things like purchases of clothes and shoes are obvious examples. They will all keep you dry and warm, and so they all pretty much do the same sort of thing, but you will choose one item over another because you think it looks better. And of course it extends right up to large purchases such as cars. Pretty much all cars will get you from A to B reliably and with a certain degree of comfort, but soonless many people and it is perhaps more true men than women, will make decisions about their car based on all sorts of other emotional criteria.
There are also examples in business to business situations where decision-making criteria may be based around feeling good or looking good. Insurance is an example of something I can think of. Insurance might be something you initially think of as being about money. But of course if you consider it for a short time it is not a money saving device. We may think that it saves us money, because of course if you have to make that big claim you may be receiving more money than you've paid out. However we all realize that over our lifetime we will pay considerably more money out on insurance than we ever claim. Also if you think about the head offices of the companies that provide insurance, you can guess that they will usually be plush buildings in glass towers. And who is playing so these buildings? Well you are of course in your promotions! What insurance is normally about is the peace of mind knowing that if something did go wrong, you are covered and will not suffer huge short-term financial loss. So most of the time when you send off your insurance cheque the most you will get from it is the satisfaction of knowing that it is not something you have to worry about. So in this instance I would put insurance and it does not matter whether it is household, legal or motor insurance as a making you feel good factor.
Products sold in the health and safety industry will often be based around feeling good and looking good. Because again their motivation is similar to that with insurance. The reason someone may be motivated to buy your health and safety products may be to comply with the law. And there can be no more powerful motivator than knowing you may be avoiding prosecution or even jail by buying this product. Buying quality health and safety equipment is also a feelgood factor as it demonstrates to your customers' employees that they have a genuine interest in their welfare. So it is partly about how it makes them feel and how it comes across to the people that will be using the equipment.
So you can apply this approach or model to pretty much anything that costs money. Everything you're willing to spend money on must by definition have features advantages and benefits.