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The Benefits of Teaching Benefits

He drove from Windsor, Ontario to Jackson, MI on a Friday night. “We have a Graco car seat and were told you are the closest store to have the matching stroller. Do you happen to have it in stock?”

“Yes, we have two different versions in that fabric. Which did you want?”

“Two versions?? Hold on.”

(On phone…) “Honey, they have two different strollers …”

After hanging up, we started taking about the features they wanted in the stroller. Light weight? They both had that. Easy fold? Check and check. Big wheels for walking outside? Yes and yes. Compact fold?

“What are you driving?”

“A Honda Civic, why?”

We took both strollers out to the parking lot, folded them, and then tried putting them into his trunk. They both fit, but one only went in if you had it upside down, put the front wheels in first, turned it 90 degrees, rotated it another 45 degrees and pushed really hard. The other slid in easily.

Feature: It has a compact fold
Benefit: So that you can fit it into your tiny trunk with room to spare for groceries and other stuff.

  • Feature = What it does
  • Benefit = How that helps you

It does this … So that you …

Feature: This blog offers tips, techniques, and ideas for every aspect of running a retail business …
Benefit: So that you have the tools necessary to run a successful business and have fun at your job …

Feature: Subscribing to this blog gets you an email of every new post as it is posted …

  • So that you know before your competitors what to do to gain an advantage.
  • So that you get something thought-provoking, inspiring, and helpful sent directly to you, without having to dig to find it.
  • So that you have something in your inbox that you look forward to reading to offset all those emails you dread.
  • So that you have a diversion when you just need to get away from everything else.
  • So that you get reminders of the things you already know but may have forgotten.

The Feature doesn’t sell the product. The Benefit does.

The best game you can play with your staff (new and old) is to grab a random product off the shelf, identify one of its Features, and then list as many Benefits as you can for how that feature can make someone’s life better.

There are lots of ways, places, and times to practice finding the Benefits.

  • Do it when a new product comes in so that everyone knows how to sell that product.
  • Do it during a staff meeting. Make a game out of it.
  • Do it in your daily five-minute huddle.
  • Do it during a slow moment on the sales floor.
  • Do it during training for new staff.
  • Do it randomly and on the spot.

Do it so often that finding the Benefits—how the product makes someone’s life better—becomes second nature with your staff. When it becomes a mindset for them, you’ll see the sales of your more valuable items start to rise.

-Phil Wrzesinski

PS One other Benefit from playing this Benefits Game is that it helps you become better at identifying the products you’ll be able to sell better (ones with more benefits) and the dogs you need to clear out of your inventory (ones with fewer benefits). 

PPS One other Benefit from playing this Benefits Game is that it helps you be better at selling the lesser-known brands you carry to compete with the mass-market brands customers ask for by name.


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