“You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.” – Warren Buffett
With the double dip recession confirmed in the UK, a lot of businesses are finding that the need to work harder and smarter in their businesses is critical to survive and prosper. It is important therefore to remember that the biggest reason businesses fail is because they run out of cash.
The ‘Cash Gap’ is a useful measure to understand why your business may be struggling with cash. Simply put, the ‘Cash Gap; refers to the time in days from when you put in money into your business (through purchase of stock, salary payments etc.) and when you get paid by your customers. The larger your ‘Cash Gap’, the more your bank balance is likely to be under pressure.
Most small and medium sized businesses have a common thread running through their advertising and marketing material – their product or service descriptions are features-laden. What this ignores is that most clients and customers base buying decisions on the benefits they perceive the product or service to provide, not its features.
Most of us continue to focus on telling people what they’ll get when they buy a product/service…how ‘it’ works…not what it means to them to buy it…what ‘it’ will give them if they own ‘it.’ Think of the feature as the description and the benefit as the result. Then re-write your feature statements into benefit statements. You’ll save prospective buyers the trouble of trying to do it themselves…which they generally won’t.
Consider the following example pairings of feature and benefit statements:
Feature: We’re open until 10 every night.
Benefit: Because we’re open late every night, you can shop at your convenience and don’t have to take time off work
Feature: Our day care center provides age-appropriate stimulation.
Benefit: Because your child will be stimulated using age-rated activities and certified day care workers, their mental development will be accelerated. We care about your child’s progress.
Feature: We use only high quality woods and adhesives in building our furniture.
Benefit: Because we use only the best in making our custom furniture…your purchase will be a one-time, long-term investment that’ll outlast you.
Feature: Our bookstore features comfortable chairs throughout the store.
Benefit: Because we provide comfortable chairs throughout our bookstore, you can relax and read snippets before you buy the book. Know what you’re buying and you’ll enjoy your investment that much more.
Feature: I have over 20 years experience selling houses in the neighbourhood.
Benefit: Because I have over 20 years experience selling homes in your neighbourhood, your house will be sold quickly, for the highest amount possible, letting you focus on other important things. Let me take the stress out of selling your home.
As you read the feature and benefit statements above, which speaks directly to you? Remember, ‘Benefit-Selling’ is primarily about keeping the interest of your customer paramount in your communication with them.