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By Rama Beerfas

February 10, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – If you’ve ever taken a sales training class, you have probably heard the features vs. benefits marketing approach. I call this technique the WIIFM Factor – What’s in It for Me. When it comes right down to it, when you are stressing the benefits, rather than the features of a particular product or service, you are telling your prospects what is in it for them when they purchase from you.

(For further reference, please read the word “product” as “product or service.”)

While you may be proud of the fact that you can offer the latest innovation, technology, material, or methods, that is not what sells a product to most people. If you cannot articulate what the customer gains (or, in some cases, loses) by purchasing this particular product, then there is no immediate need to spend the time, effort and money to make the purchase.

Take for instance, the case of the business accounting software my company uses: Quickbooks by Intuit. Every year, Intuit releases a new version of Quickbooks with more bells and whistles, which they are quick to advertise to me as the reason I should spend the money to upgrade. Now my accounting needs are not so complicated that I need these upgrades – I only use a fraction of what I already have in my current version – so the features are not an inducement to me to make the purchase.

About every three to four years, however, I do buy the upgrade and not because I want or need the new “stuff” they’ve added in the interim, or because I’m just dying to spend some money on more software. I do it because, if I don’t, my tax accountant will no longer be able to do my income taxes for me because his company no longer supports my older version of Quickbooks. I now have a very specific benefit to spending the money: upgrade or do my own taxes (not happening!). No amount of their features could induce me to spend the money; however, the benefit of being able to have my trusty accountant continue to handle my taxes for me gets me to open up my wallet.

When you tell people what you do, whether in a 30-Second Commercial, a sales presentation, or on your website and marketing materials, are you showcasing the benefits of buying or working with you, or are you trying to sell them on the features.

Keep in mind that features often differ very little among competitive companies; it’s the benefits you offer that can close the sale for you.

Give your customers and prospects that WIIFM Factor, rather than a laundry list of product features and you are at least one step closer to making that sale.

Rama Beerfas is the Chief Solutions Specialist of San Diego-based Lev Promotions, offering marketing consulting, promotional products, promotional marketing programs, and more. Rama also offers seminars and training in topics related to marketing and customer service. She can be reached at (619) 697-2045 or at Please submit requests for column topics, questions or comments to the above e-mail address.

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