Prospecting Systems Sales Advice

The WHAT Or The WHY?


Are You Wasting Your Time Selling Features? Make this Mistake, and Failure is Guaranteed…

Features don’t sell.

They aren’t sexy.

They don’t explain how your product or service will solve a problem or create a desirable experience for your customer.

Features are what I like to call the “What” in the selling process.

You might sell Reputation marketing and have some pretty slick tools to help a local business get more positive reviews published about their company online. Or even some pretty crafty ways to prevent negative reviews from being published in first place.

That’s cool and all and is definitely important, but your prospects want to know “WHY”.

Why is it they need more reviews published online? How does that actually help their business?

Yes, we know the answer seems obvious but you still need to point it out.

This is what “benefits” are for when it comes to advertising and marketing. Benefits are the “WHY”

The benefits of what you offer is what triggers the necessary emotions for your customers to make the decision to buy.

Features come in at the end, to help confirm their buying decision.

With real estate, it’s all about location, location, location.

Well, when it comes to selling marketing services to other business owners, it’s all about benefits, benefits, benefits!

But you probably already know this, don’t you?

Then why is it so many marketing consultants still fall into the trap of taking a feature-centric approach when trying to sell their services?

You are NOT Your Customer

Sometimes it’s difficult to get out of our own heads, and view our services from the client’s perspective.

If you’re an SEO geek, you might LOVE the fact that you provide diverse social back-links with high page rank and rotating anchor text.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean your potential clients will share the same level of enthusiasm.

In fact, they couldn’t care less about all of that technical mumbo jumbo. They simply DON’T CARE!

What do they care about?

Creating an automatic stream of new customers through their website by ranking at the top of Google search results.

The “link juice magic” you use to make this happen is irrelevant in their eyes.

Let’s take a look at Features vs. Benefits for Website Design

Selling web design services is one area where features and technical jargon seem to dominate.

Below is an example of some website copy from a web designer in my area:

“With strengths in Content Management System (CMS) Design & CMS Plugin Customization and Dynamic HTML (DHTML) technologies, we specialize in the creation of well-balanced web sites rich with content and action.”

Umm….I don’t know about you, but even my eyes glazed over a little when reading that.

Imagine what will happen when the average mom and pop business owner reads that! (they won’t be opening their wallet…that’s for sure)

Instead of talking gibberish on their website, they’d be better off saying things like:

  • Simple design so it’s easy for customers to find the information they need and contact you…
  • A powerful lead capture system that will automatically build an email list of hot leads that you can market and sell to anytime you want….

Again, benefits…things your potential customers actually want and care about.

Don’t Assume You Always Know What Your Clients Want

In general, most local business owners want more new customers, increased customer retention, and to save time.

As local marketing consultants, we can easily help our clients achieve all 3 of these.

But the savvy consultant will dig deeper when communicating with potential clients.

Remember, just making more money isn’t always the “end” result.

Maybe a deli owner wants increased customer acquisition so he can afford to hire a manager to oversee day to day operations.

Now the owner will have more free time away from the deli to attend his son’s soccer games.

In this case, the end result isn’t just more customers or more profit is it? It’s allowing the deli owner to spend more time with his family.

How do you uncover this information?

By asking questions of course…

Questions like:

  • What goals for your business do you hope having a more effective website will help you achieve?
  • What personal goals do you hope having a more effective website will help you achieve?
  • If the website we design creates a stream of new customers and increases customer retention, what would this do for your business?
  • How would this improve the quality of life for you and your family?
  • What would a perfect website look like and do for your business?

(Notice I was sticking with website design for this example)

Keep in mind, these are just examples. You’ll need to change these up depending on what services you’re offering.

The point is, that by getting business owners to open up and talk, they reveal valuable information.

Then all you have to do is actually listen to their answers…

And guess what?

When you respond with how your services will fulfill these goals and dreams, how they will solve a specific problem, you’ll naturally be explaining BENEFITS that your client actually cares about.

Resulting in more clients paying you more money!

So next time you are trying to close that deal or write the perfect sales pitch, talk about the what (a little) but focus on the why!

Sound good to you?

Do you have questions or comments about using Benefits to sell better? Let’s get a conversation started below! I’ll be personally responding to all comments.

Tell me the main benefit of the product or service you currently offer!

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  • J.R. Renkenberger Feb 19,2016 at 7:16 pm

    Well done, Chris! I’m revising my flyer from WHAT are the features to HOW it gets them more customers and WHY they need it!

    • Chris Beatty Sep 15,2016 at 3:12 pm

      Awesome J.R.

      Hopefully that works good for you down in Alabama! 🙂

  • Ken Nov 12,2015 at 9:47 pm

    You make some very good points, business don’t want to know how you do it, just how much it makes for them. They are not in the business of learning anything outside of the business they are doing, so pushing how (features) will never get you to how much you can make for them (benefits).

    • Chris Beatty Nov 12,2015 at 9:59 pm

      Use that all the time. Let us do our thing so you can focus on what you do best. .. running YOUR business.

  • Mark Nov 12,2015 at 9:17 pm

    Excellent and super useful right now for me this came at the right time.
    Thank you Chris loving your input.

    • Chris Beatty Nov 12,2015 at 9:46 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it Mark. Sometimes we need a refresher on the basics of selling.

  • John Nov 12,2015 at 7:27 pm

    Hey Chris, any plans yet for your next DFY funnel? I’m excited already 🙂

    • Chris Beatty Nov 12,2015 at 9:45 pm

      Hey John, a funnel was sent out this past Sunday.

      If you didn’t get it, please email me at Imchrisbeatty at gmail .com with your email you used to purchase.

  • Chris Beatty Nov 12,2015 at 6:13 pm

    No problem. It’s easy for us to get excited about all the cool tools and strategies that we have to help a local business. They key is to not forget about what those things actually accomplish for the client!

    Yes, the Invisible PPC team is still in full operation.

    Here’s a link for you to grab it if you want in:

  • Shefiu Nov 12,2015 at 6:03 pm

    Hi Chris,

    Great article indeed. I’ve experienced frustration in the past trying to sell features instead of benefits. Thanks for emphasing this.

    About the invisible PPC as already mentioned here. I’m interested, but didn’t sign up when it was available recently. Is the team still operating? If so, will the PPC offer be re-opened anytime soon?

  • John Nov 12,2015 at 4:04 pm

    Just saw Stuart’s comment. I didn’t get around to signing up with the invisible PPC guys yet, though I had good impressions about them given that Kevin Wilke and others also recommend them. What’s the deal, are they on their way out or are they still a reliable PPC outsourcing provider?

    • Chris Beatty Nov 12,2015 at 6:06 pm

      They are definitely not on the way out. Be confident using Rob’s team.

      • Rachel Findlay Nov 16,2015 at 12:23 am

        I can vouch for and recommend Invisible PPC, Rob and his team. They’ve been around for years and a professional and dependable company. And Chris Beatty is alright too 😉

  • John Nov 12,2015 at 4:03 pm

    Good points, Chris! I make that mistake of too much feature-talk vs. mentioning too few benefits way too often…

    I’m a bit confused of how a typical sales presentation should go, though. Some people teach it like “set up slideshows, show them how you can help them etc.etc.” others are like “ask questions and from the replies craft a benefit-rich sales-message on the fly”. I guess the latter approach is more for the selling-pros?

    Lastly, when will your next DFY funnel come out?


    • Chris Beatty Nov 12,2015 at 5:32 pm

      Yea you’re right John, the latter is more of a consultative sales approach. Both work, just depends on your sales style. I personally hate consultative selling. Requires too much hand holding for my tastes! That being said, you do still need to ask questions to get to their root desires.

  • Khalil Arabi Nov 12,2015 at 3:23 pm

    Great insight Chris. When the customers see themselves in what we’re selling they end up selling themselves.

    • Chris Beatty Nov 12,2015 at 5:31 pm

      Thanks Khalil, that’s exactly right. Create an emotional bond between their problem and your solution and you’ll win most of the time. But, you do that by talking about the benefits your solution will give them and how it relates to solving their problems.

  • Stuart Werner Nov 4,2015 at 1:21 am

    We scheduled a call

    • Chris Beatty Nov 12,2015 at 5:29 pm

      Awesome Stuart, hopefully it went well!

  • Stuart Werner Nov 4,2015 at 1:10 am

    I’m your customer @ ppc client funnel.I am trying to reach the invisibleppcsubmission people but they truly keep themselves ‘invisible.’I can’t reach them, neither by phone or email.I’d like to know if they serve Quebec (English/Fr) .It is ahrd to sell an outsourcing team without references whom you can’t even reach.I’d like to know if I would be bale to show analytics?Could I do my own retargeting ,or do they simply let google optimize fro retargeting?

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