Last night I had the privilege of working with a couple of entrepreneurs at TechSandBox. We discussed the value summary for their offering and worked to craft a message that resonates with prospective customers.
When asked about the benefits of their offering they listed cool things about it. Unfortunately, like many people who live with their ideas and goals 24/7, the cool things are usually features, not benefits. Here’s an illustration:
The business owner’s idea of benefits:
- Great design
- Doesn’t use a lot of energy
- Easy to install and use
As an outsider to their product, these don’t really make sense until they are put into context. After a bit of discussion, here are the benefits I saw:
- Looks good in most offices
- Can be used for days between charges
- Automates baseline communications to ensure everyone is up to date
But wait! There’s one more level. That’s when you take the benefits and make them specific to the audience who uses the product–the advantage. Just talking about the last benefit, here’s an example:
- More projects completed on time, and on budget
The problem is when we live with an idea 24/7 the benefits are obvious to us.* But hardly anyone else recognizes them, at least not immediately. Even if they might recognize them without help, when there’s effort involved then every second of delay is a chance that they might walk away.
To continue the conversation with a prospective customer, the seller will need proof for a statement as generic as “on time and on budget”; that’s where reference accounts and success stories come in. At least the conversation has a higher chance of continuing when the prospect has heard useful benefits and advantages.
Listing features may get us into the game, but to win the sets and then the match we need to really put ourselves in to the lives of our customers and talk about how our offering is an advantage to them.
I’d love to hear from you about how you move from feature to benefit and advantage. Please share!
* BTW–this is hard to do for our own products because we are so close to them. After decades of practice I still talk with others about my offerings.