One of the most important aspects of crafting effective sales copy is being able to distinguish the benefits of a product or service from its features.  The reason this is so challenging for many marketers is because explaining the benefits requires you to look at the product or service from the perspective of the audience instead of your own.

So, what is the difference between benefits and features?  The easiest way to think about it is this:  Benefits highlight the problem that the product or service solves for the customer, while the features are the details about how it solves these problems.

Here are a few examples below:

Product/Service

Features

Benefits

Digital Camera

10-Megapixel Resolution

Beautiful Memories

Sports Car

400 Horse Power

Excitement, Adrenaline, Speed

Power Drill

2,000 RPM

Holes to Hang Family Pictures

Hair Club for Men

Re-Grows Hair

Confidence, Sex Appeal

Mattress

Memory Foam

Deep, Restful Sleep. Comfort.

Maid Service

Clean House

Stress-Free, Peace of Mind

Focusing on your product’s benefits before you talk about its features is important because the benefits are what the customer truly cares about.  Let’s look at the maid service from the above list as an example.

What is someone actually buying when they hire a maid?  If you go to the root of the customer’s desire, it’s not just about having a clean house, but about having peace of mind when they come home.  Their house will be beautiful, orderly and they will be able to feel at ease when they walk in the door.  They won’t feel the stress that comes along with having piles of miscellany strewn about their home, each one reminding them of unfinished business they have to take care of.  Instead, they feel the relaxation that comes with having an orderly and clean house.

Let’s pretend two maid services are trying to get your business.  Based on these sales pitches, which one would you choose?

Maid Service A: We will give you peace of mind so you can come home and relax at the end of a long day without feeling stressed by clutter and disorganization.  Let us take care of the cleaning so you can spend more time doing what you love!

Maid Service B: We will clean your house so that it’s spotless.  We guarantee we will clean up the mess that other maid services leave behind!

Maid Service A spoke to the benefits of their company, while Maid Service B spoke to the features.  You can see that speaking about the benefits creates a much more compelling offer.

The key question that is always on the minds of potential customers is “What does this product or service do for me?”  By switching the focus of your sales material to show them the benefits your company has to offer, you will do a better job of responding to this question in an enticing way, which will ultimately help you get more business.

How have you distinguished between your product or service’s benefits and features?  Let us know in the comments below!