50 Habits of Top Performing Sales People Habits 19 & 20 – Is It a Feature or a Benefit?

February 4, 2016 Selling Comments Off on 50 Habits of Top Performing Sales People Habits 19 & 20 – Is It a Feature or a Benefit?

Continuing with the twelve Sales Skills let’s look at Habits 19 & 20 – Is It a Feature or a Benefit?

Habit 19: Understand the difference and the uses of features and benefits.
Habit 20: Know not to introduce benefits until there is a need that has been qualified through genuine “PAIN.”

Last month’s newsletter talked about confirming problems as NEEDS and determining the level of PAIN to improve the sales cycle and determine the need of your target customer so you can offer your solution tailored to that customer. This month, let’s focus on how to determine the difference and uses of features and benefits and when to introduce benefits based on “PAIN” during the sales cycle.

Probably 90% of sales people have difficulty distinguishing between a feature and a benefit. It’s not surprising because very few salespeople are actually sent to sales skills training and learn fundamental sales skills. One of the fundamentals taught in most sales seminars is the proper use of features and benefits.
A feature is a characteristic, a trait, an attribute or a quality of a product or service. A benefit is the value that a feature delivers to the customer/prospect. Understanding when to use a feature or a benefit is the stuff of many published documents in sales skills training.

In my opinion, neither should be used until there is a defined problem that has been developed into a need based on “PAIN.” There isn’t any reason to present a feature or a benefit unless there is a problem that has been developed into a need.

An example of this might be: it would be a waste of time, breath and money informing a prospect of the new and improved production rate of a piece of equipment unless you have established that there is a need for that increased production rate. Doing this may also bore the customer/prospect to death and may put you in a bad light as someone who wastes people’s time.

If your new piece of machinery can produce 500 pieces per minute and the customer/prospect’s existing equipment runs at 300 pieces per minute and there is no market for the potential increased production, there’s no sense telling the customer/prospect that your new machine can run 500 pieces of per minute and therefore will increase his bottom line.

In the above case, the feature is 500 pieces per minute and the benefit is the customers/prospect’s ability to sell more pieces and therefore increase revenue and profit. This benefit is hollow, because the customer/prospect cannot sell the increased production.

If, however, the salesperson has determined, through interrogatories, that there is a real need for increased production, the introduction of the feature of 500 pieces per minute and the benefit of increased revenue of the additional 200 pieces per minute would be applicable.
It is amazing how many salespeople run off at the mouth talking about how great their new product is and how much money people can make using their new product, when there is really no need for the new product. Seems like such a waste!

“A Habit” is not work, but just a thing that is done every day and confirming problems as “NEEDS” and understanding the difference between features and benefits and knowing when to introduce benefits based on “PAIN” during the sales cycle can easily become a Habit.


For Top Performers every task is planned and focused on the goals that earn the results. Top Performers plan and then engage. They act on their plans, they work hard and they get results.

Coaching these skills is a critical part of what we do. We are here to help you develop and implement your Strategic Plan and coach and develop the skills to implement the plan successfully.

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Bill has over 25 years of experience in manufacturing organizations. Bill will go into a company and develop tailored strategies to assist with management and growth and then help implement those strategies. Visit www.strategen1.com for details.

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