Posted by: Kaplan Financial Education
Updated: July 31, 2017
One easy way to improve your sales skills is through solution selling. What is solution selling? Solution selling means focusing on your customers’ pain points and addressing how your product or service offerings can provide solutions to their problems. In order to execute solution selling successfully, you first need to understand the difference between features and benefits and when to incorporate both into your sales pitch.
A feature is a characteristic or fact about a product or service. It is often a tangible attribute or jargon about the product. For example, a bicycle’s features could be that it weighs only 20 pounds or that it has 26 gears. It is important to know the features of your product or service because customers often compare competitor products based on features. Customers may also have a checklist of features to ensure your offering meets their basic requirements. It is doubtful that your customer will buy strictly only on the features, but they will most likely be interested in knowing the features early on.
The benefit is what the customer gains by using your product or service; it represents value and is often intangible. In other words, what will the product DO for your customer? What problems will it solve? What will your customer gain? For example, the bicycle that only weighs 20 pounds will allow the rider to hit higher speeds. The 26 gears will allow the rider more precise control of their resistance.
While there is a place for features in your selling process, the focus of solution selling is on the benefits your product or service offerings provide for your customers. A good rule of thumb to remember is: features tell, but benefits sell! Instead of promoting your products and services in the same way to each customer, frame your sales pitch around each customer’s needs.
It may be helpful to jot down some product and service features you offer and then determine the accompanying benefits for your customers. For example:
|24-hour helpline||Help is available at any hour to resolve any issues you may have|
|15 years of experience in the business||Industry experience to know and provide the solutions you need|
|Customized programs||Personalized program designed to fit your specific needs|
|One-click accounting report||Immediate information and prepared statement for you|
In order to successfully deliver a sales pitch, you need to examine and understand how features you offer relate to benefits that can solve your customer’s problems. After gathering background information from each customer, you should be familiar with the features and benefits your products offer in order to make recommendations that meet each customer’s needs.
The best way to think about improving your sales skills is to always think from the perspective of the customer. Based on what you’ve heard from your customer, how will this product offering provide a solution to their problems? When you use this solution selling approach for framing your sales pitch, you can be sure your message is right on target every time.
Remember: features tell, but benefits sell!