Features versus benefits: Can we end this now?

Copywriters write about benefits, not just featuresOn the very first day of Copywriter or Sales 101 class, you will hear the “features-versus-benefits” conflict. You will hear the professor say that people buy because of benefits. “Features tell but benefits sell” is a phrase that will likely be spoken. You’ll hear how features describe a product or service while benefits describe why someone would buy the product or service. I suspect that this features versus benefits discussion has been going on since the very first wheel was chipped out of stone and traded to another caveman in exchange for fire.

It’s a perennial discussion because people continue to get it wrong: Marketing gurus and sales geniuses (and even some DM copywriters) continue to promote features and ignore benefits as if hubcaps or a QWERTY keyboard would convince someone to buy.

So let’s end this now, shall we? It’s easy. Here’s how.

The simple addition of two little words can force you into thinking about benefits. Just by adding the words “which means” after every feature, you’ll push yourself out of “what” and into “why”.

“This car comes with hubcaps, which means your car will look better.”

“This computer comes with a QWERTY keyboard, which means you don’t need to learn a new keyboard configuration.”

Simple! By adding “which means” to your features, you force yourself to consider why it really matters to your customers and you’ll be able to communicate it more effectively. This works if you’re writing marketing copy or if you’re in a face-to-face selling situation.

But it doesn’t stop there. Adding “which means” just once might not be enough. In fact, as you prepare your marketing or sales presentation, add “which means” until you run out of things to say. Then you’ll have discovered the real reasons that people buy your product or service:

“This orange juice is loaded with Vitamin C, which means you’ll get your daily requirement of Vitamin C in just one glass of orange juice, which means you’ll be healthier without having to eat a whole bunch of other things that contain Vitamin C, which means you’ll feel great and look great but save time, which means you’ll enjoy a longer, healthier, and more fruitful life doing the things you like to do.” Ergo, Vitamin C helps you enjoy a longer and healthier life.

See how easy it is? Adding “which means” to your features will create powerful benefits statements, which means you’ll close more deals, which means you’ll earn more money, which means you’ll have money to spend on the things you like and you can retire sooner, which means you can move to Bermuda sooner than you thought possible. Ergo, adding “which means” can help you retire to Bermuda faster.