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Features and Benefits Don’t Close the Sale

If you’re in sales, you’ve been taught Features and Benefits over and over. Show them the Feature and explain the Benefit they get from that feature.

It does this (feature)… so that you get this (benefit)…

Show them the F&B and you’ll close the sale… Or not.

Probably not.

As Bob Phibbs, aka The Retail Doc, shows in this video, all F&B does is keep the customer in Analytical mode, gathering data before making a decision. You have to get past that mode if you want to close the sale. You have to get the customer into the frame of mind where she already sees herself as having made the purchase, where she already envisions herself using the product.

Roy H. Williams, aka The Wizard of Ads, teaches us in his book Wizard of Ads that people only do that which they have already seen themselves doing in their own mind. 

Assumptive selling is one way to get the picture into the customer’s mind. Real estate agents use this all the time. “You said you like to entertain. Can you picture your friends sitting around the fireplace in this wonderful family room?”

A fellow baby store owner uses it in his sales pitch for convertible cribs. “Most people will buy two extra items to go with their crib – the toddler rail and the conversion kit. You’ll need the conversion kit down the road when you create the full size bed. The toddler rail is optional but offers some great peace of mind. Would you like to buy both right now or just the conversion kit?”

You see how they have given the customer a choice? Not a buy/don’t buy choice, but a buy-this-or-buy-that because we assume you’re going to buy at least one thing. Their close rate on those conversion kits is through the roof.

In both examples you have the customer already envisioning buying and using the product. You’ve gone beyond analysis and into wonder. The 60-second training is to teach your staff to simply ask, “How do you plan on using this?” Get them envisioning the product in use and you’re almost home.

Don’t get me wrong. F&B are great. You still need to know them. Chances are, however, in this digital age your customers already know all the F&B before they get to the store. Your real job is to get past the data gathering and into envisioning the product in their possession. Do that and you’ll close a lot more sales.

-Phil Wrzesinski

PS Your conversion rate goes up if you have first built a solid rapport and relationship with the customer. I have been working on that with my staff this year. You can read more about it in the post The Sales Process Broken Down.

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