Most people could
care less about your association's products or services. They want to
know what it can do for them; how it will solve some problem or help
them achieve some business or career objective. Too often, we concentrate
on the great features our association offers, like newsletters or trade
shows, but neglect to translate them into the real motives for buying.
A feature is an
objective and observable characteristic of your product or service.
Features remain unchanged whether the prospect buys or not. For example,
features of your upcoming trade show might include room for 150 booths,
five break-out seminars, and 2,000 visitors over two days. Features
of your newsletter might include 32 pages, a color cover, and a bingo
An advantage is
what the feature does, the service that it performs. An advantage of
having break-out sessions at your trade show is that they attract qualified
attendees to your exhibits. The advantage of a bingo reply card is that
it makes it easier for customers to respond. But that's not the whole
A benefit is the
payoff of the advantage, or the value it provides to this individual
prospect. Qualified attendees mean you'll spend less time qualifying
and spend more time closing sales. Easy response means you'll see immediate
results from your newsletter ad.
Think of benefits
as the value of the advantage to the individual prospect. These are
therefore defined by the prospects' goals. The same product or service
may offer different benefits to prospects with different priorities.
For the trade show go-getters, a busy floor with lots of traffic may
be just the opportunity they've been waiting for to introduce a new
Another member might
want to participate in order to network with the show's other exhibitors.
Another may view it as an opportunity to orient their new employees
to the industry. The guerrilla always links features and advantages
to their prospects' objectives, so they can clearly see the benefits.
Remember too that
a benefit may not be intuitively obvious. Guerrillas target their selling
message by always translating features into advantages into benefits.
For example, you might say, "One feature of our show is that attendees
will have paid $5.00 each to enter the exhibit hall. The advantage is
that these are people who really want to see what you have to offer,
and you benefit because that makes it easier for you to sell to them."
Because the same
features will offer different benefits to different prospects, the guerrilla
targets the presentation to cover only selected features that offer
a clear advantage. "Attendees will have paid $5.00 to enter the exhibit
hall. The advantage is that by keeping the traffic down to a manageable
level, your people benefit by having time to qualify each visitor, rather
than just passing out literature to a mob."
to sell anything new, do this simple exercise. Fold a sheet of paper
as you would a letter into three sections. In the first column, list
the half-dozen major features of your offering. In the second column,
list several advantages for each feature. And in the third column, list
the possible benefits of each advantage for the different types of prospects
you plan to call on. No matter what you're offering, your presentations
will flow naturally and logically across the page, making it easier
for prospects to justify buying. Now you're armed and dangerous.