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Real Benefits You Can Taste!

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Author: Peter Temple

If you've ever sat at your desk trying to put the finishing touches on a presentation designed to persuade your client to buy into the next big project, you've invariably had the challenge of trying to identify benefits. In fact, if you've sold anything at all, you know how important benefits are to realizing the sale. Hand in hand with honing in on the most compelling benefits is making sure they're not just features.

Features are nice . . . but benefits sell, right? With any product or service, pointing out features, in most cases, is key to differentiating the product. But benefits - now, those are the things that can really make a difference! But how do you word them to really have an impact on your client or customer?

The answer to this perplexing question has become even clearer to me recently as a result of having to develop an internet sales pitch for information products. After having done extensive reading (as a result of lots of sitting and pondering!), I've discovered the secret to writing much more persuasive copy. Knowing and understanding this secret will also have a huge impact in any presentation you undertake!

Let me share what I've learned.

If you're like me, you learned earlier on that features are what a product has; benefits are what it does. But sometimes, describing benefits doesn't impact your audience; doesn't change their minds. Benefits often aren't personal enough. They're too broad.

And to really sell, your benefits have to be specific. They have to give your audience a specific gain . . . one they can personally feel, or imagine. Another way of putting it is, benefits have to personally, or emotionally affect your audience.

Let's consider another word: "advantages." I'm going to suggest to you that what we've traditionally thought of as "benefits" are often really "advantages." Product features have certain advantages that they provide. But the benefits are how those advantages specifically affect your audience.

As an example, let's say I wanted to sell you a "double chocolate" cake. I might say that it has "double rich, naturally sweet" icing. That's a feature. The advantage is that it's not too rich or overly sweet like traditional chocolate and THAT makes it taste SO much better. Fine. But, so what? That may or may not get someone interested in buying and entire cake.

But, if I were to tell you that it will make your toes curl, or that if you feed it to your girlfriend, she will fall deeply in love with you for at least an hour . . . now, those are personal benefits. You get an emotional response from those benefits. In fact, most true benefits in presentations should give you an emotional response.

You see, benefits have to affect you personally to have real impact. If you have a specific gain that provides a positive emotional response, chances are you'll buy into the idea more readily than if you were simply given the product's advantages.

Features . . . advantages . . . benefits.

Another example: wrinkle cream.

Feature: it reduces wrinkles

Advantage: it will make you look younger

Benefits: you'll be more attractive, you'll have guys falling all over you, nobody will be able to accurately guess your age.

Now, I know some of you might argue that wrinkle cream is a pretty emotional product to begin with. And "What does this sales pitch have to do with my ACME cleaning service?" (for example). "How do I use this approach when I'm pitching a service that simply helps keep an office clean?"

Well, if the feature is a lower price, if I told you you'd save enough money to fund a smaller project you've been trying to get off the ground for years, or that your boss would likely give you a raise for being so efficient . . . those, whether they be true or not, are personal benefits. You'd probably think pretty positively about giving my service a try.

However, if my price is higher than the competition (the quality is much better), I might say "Your office will be SO clean, that you will NEVER hear a complaint from an employee. In fact, if you ever do, I'll personally address that problem the very next day and make sure your staff member is truly satisfied and is aware of the extra effort their boss goes to in order to ensure their comfort. We'll make you look like a star!"

So, next time you're sitting at your desk pondering your next presentation and how to make that sale, think about your audience. If you've properly done your homework, you already know their concerns. The first step then, is to think about those concerns and how your product will satisfy them. Once you've done that, it's time to go to the next critical step - the benefit.

Simply craft your response to the concern so that it targets personal benefits . . . specific gains they'll realize . . . gains that will affect them emotionally . . . and you'll be way further ahead in persuading them to grant you your wish.

And once you've done THAT . . . reward yourself with a slice of double chocolate cake that is so moist, it will absolutely melt in your mouth and curl your toes like they've never been curled before!

Copyright (c) 2007 Peter Temple

About the author: Peter Temple is a professional speaker, coach, instructional video designer, producer, director and writer for and corporate television. He specializes in helping executives fine-tune their presentation skills and use new technologies effectively in their talks. You'll find practical tips and guidelines to more effective presentations through his online, video-based course.

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