I remember when I did my Miller Heiman training, some 25 years ago, I was told to sell benefits not features. I worked at ICL (International Computers Ltd) the only UK computer manufacturer and they loved technology. It was a very "bits and bytes" company and we were taught not to talk about CAFs (don't worry you don't need to know what it means as I'm about to tell you the benefit), but how you could search millions of documents quickly. Or Exac where you could send somebody an electronic message and not a letter or a memo.
You may well laugh, but this was before the internet, social media and mobile, in fact it was before email.
As I said, you may well laugh, but I see people selling like this (as if it was before internet, social media and mobile) all the time.
It's no good to sell features, in fact it's no good selling benefits, because we have all had enough of sales people, marketers and corporations trying to push products down our throats. Sorry but we are just not interested.
I was with a bunch of really clever marketers yesterday and they showed me this video they had created. The product they sold had "grown up" I was told. They had to market it differently, so they created a corporate video. The video was beautiful. It told me all about the product and how it had changed and how marketing would need to change. The video was sleek. The video created a beautiful image.
I was asked, "when we put this on LinkedIn, what do you think will happen?"
Everybody in the room, turned to me and I said "nothing".
There was a gasp and I qualified. "Nobody is interested in a corporate mouthpiece, in fact we have built our lives today filter this sort of thing out. It's noise. But if we empowered everybody around the table (we are by the way :) ) to talk about this on social media in an authentic way. This is a completely different proposition. You might even have something go viral." It was at this point that everybody nodded. It was a beautiful, but when we take our "sales and marketing" hats off and we think as buyers do. We know that video would never cut it. Everybody knew that being authentic on social was the winning strategy.
We have moved on. From features to benefits to empowering your team and teams to be present on social media, to connect and grow their networks and to talk in a non salesly or corporate way. This is the real marketing battleground of what is nearly they second decade of the 21st century.
We live in an era with a heaving buffet of information about customer prospects, their markets, and their businesses at our fingertips. Yet despite this wealth of information available to help us build a case for access to new prospects, sales professionals still struggle to stand out or get noticed. Too many sellers follow the age-old routine of talking about their product or service and offering up a tempting plate of benefits such as “use our service and double your revenue” and “we will drive more leads to your website.” What prospect doesn’t want more leads or a 100% increase in revenue? Just one problem. These types of generic benefits and hollow promises are coming from everyone, everywhere, all of the time. Customers are weary. They don’t believe you. They don’t hear you.