Features Versus Benefits (And How to Know the Difference)

Features Versus Benefits (And How to Know the Difference)

Have you ever heard the phrase “Features tell, but benefits sell?”

I know being told to sell the benefits of your program or service sometimes confuses and frustrates you. Sometimes it confuses me, too! Because the benefits of something aren’t always obvious. You may have to do a little digging to figure out why your client should even care about what you’re selling.

Of course you want to talk about all the great things inside your new program, training, or other offering. And it’s important for people to know exactly what you’re selling. So you say things like:

“6-week self-study course”

“Includes workbooks and live training.”

“Members-only discounts.”

Those are definitely great features, but they aren’t going to lure in any buyers. Because they only tell your audience what the program is and what’s included. You haven’t told them why they need it. There’s nothing that tells them about the transformation they’ll experience or what things will look like for them after they’ve worked with you.

You don’t tell them how they’ll benefit from what you’re selling.

Benefits provide the “so what” of the features—and these are what really matter to your audience.

What’s so great about that 6-week self-study course you’re running? Why should your reader care or choose it over another?

  • Because she’s busy and needs to work on her own schedule, not yours
  • Because she’s already studied shorter, less comprehensive courses and needs more in-depth information
  • Because she prefers to learn on her own, not in a group

Why should anyone care that your program comes with workbooks and live training? What are the benefits of having those?

  • Your students can put what they learn into action right away with workbooks
  • They can get their specific questions answered immediately during live training
  • They can work through complex issues with the help of you and others in the group

Always Ask “So What?”

Benefits go much further than simply rattling off attributes like length and format. Benefits show your prospective client what’s in the program and why the product is perfect for them at this specific moment in their life and career.

Does that mean you shouldn’t share your service’s features? Of course not.

Features and benefits work together in sales copy as two halves of a statement. For example:

“My 6-week self-study course gives you the flexibility to learn at your own pace, when it’s convenient for you.”

This powerful feature/benefit combo is often the basis for the bullet points you see in sales copy, and their format makes them easy to write, too.

When you’re creating your next sales page, start by simply listing all the features of your product, then for each one, go back and ask yourself “So what?” Why should the reader care?

But don’t stop there. Dig even deeper to uncover the why behind the why. The more layers you can uncover, the closer you’ll get to your client’s real problem.

Why would it matter to someone that they can learn at their own pace when it’s convenient for them?

It could be that having that flexibility means they don’t have to worry about getting to the webinar on time. Rather than being forced to plan their schedule around a webinar or other live training, they can plan the webinar around their schedule. They can watch and learn at a time that works for them—whether it’s early in the morning when they’re most attentive, or later in the evening after the kids go to bed.

Now you’ve given your prospective client an opportunity to learn from you without sacrificing time with their family or other obligations. You’re not taking family time away, you’re giving them a way to have both. That’s a benefit other courses may not provide.

Make Them Feel Understood

Highlighting the benefits of your product or service will always attract more attention (and more leads) than simply talking about what your product is or how it works.

A sales page that makes the reader feel like you understand what they need and why it’s so important that they have it will always convert well.

It’s pretty easy to list all the features of your product or program; it’s much more difficult to uncover the benefits, but that’s what will drive sales.

Once you understand the difference between the two, you can spend time drilling down to how your product or service will benefit someone and transform their life. The promise of something better is what attracts customers.

Looking at your own sales pages, have you been promoting what your program is, or are you selling its benefits?