Features vs Benefits: 4 Steps To Answering “What’s in it for me?”


Alone, features and benefits mean nothing to your prospect – together, they connect the dots to create a story that resonates with their needs. It is a perfect combination that will sell every single time – still, so many sales professionals struggle with translating the features of their offering to benefits. The result? You lose out to competitors who know how to tell customers exactly what’s in it for them—struggling to tell your customer why they should be beating down your door with their credit card? Read on to discover the difference between features vs benefits and transform them into something relatable that sells.

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What’s the Difference Between Features and Benefits?

Features are statements about your product, for example, what it does, its dimensions, or specifications. Benefits show what a product can accomplish for the prospective buyer and answer the only question they care about, “what’s in it for me?.”

For example, the technical specs on a mobile phone might not make sense to a customer unless they’re familiar with them. However, the benefit of having a fast phone that can store many photos, videos and music is something that any mobile phone owner can relate to. Below, we break down the features vs. benefits statements:

Also read: Sales Training for Technology Companies | Curated SaaS & IT Programs

Why is Understanding Features vs. Benefits Important?

Many salespeople have the problem that they confuse benefits and features for each other, and even worse – confuse them for advantages. 

Advantages are at an intermediary level between features and benefits; they are effectively what the feature does to benefit the buyer.  

Ultimately, the reason they’re so important is that by understanding the difference, you can give your prospective customers a compelling reason that resonates with them so much so that they part with their hard-earned cash. Remember, customers, buy for value, not specifications or technical jargon.

How to Transform Features into Benefits That Sell: 4 Steps

Customers don’t buy benefits, features, or advantages – they buy emotions. That’s why to sell your product or service effectively; you need to show versus tell your audience the benefits of your product vs telling them about the features. Features function on a factual level rather than an emotional one – so they are often hard to understand. Read on below to discover how to transform features into benefits that sell.

1. Know who you’re talking to

To sell effectively, particularly in a B2B, corporate, or enterprise selling situation, you need to know who your audience is – and what their primary challenge or problem is. Before planning any benefits statements, think what are their key concerns and desired outcomes? If you can clearly understand who your audience is and tailor your message to those people in that room, you’ll be well on your way to closing more of these sales.

2. Become a product expert

There’s good news and bad news. I’ll start with the bad news. Buyers have more choices available to them now than ever before. And those choices complicate the buying process. 

Now the good news! Becoming a product expert will simplify and shorten the buying process. Your customers want to know how your product is tested, modified, and retested, so much so that performance data and specifications are essential to most prospects. They also often want information about maintenance and service contracts. You should be able to supply accurate price and delivery information about your products (and those of your competitors). 

So how do you become a product expert? Read your brochures, pamphlets, catalogues and advertisements. Go on a plant tour to see firsthand how your products are produced. Talk to other people in your organization: salespeople, customer service people, delivery people. Talk to your customers. Who knows more about your products than your customers? Listen to them. Have you tried your products? Using your products and carefully evaluating them will improve your product knowledge and confidence.

 If your products are more complex and expensive, you’re more likely to get a favourable response (especially in B2B selling) if your proposal contains return-on-investment (ROI) selling appeals. In the eyes of your customer, you are the business, so be prepared to share the history and mission of your organization and keep in touch by providing service after the sale. 

3. Use “so what?” charts

Yes, it would help if you focused on selling the benefits rather than the features – but truthfully, it goes a little deeper than that. As you develop your message, you’ll start to realise that the benefits of your features are merely describing what they do for the user – whereas you need to be crafting more profound benefits than that. The way to do this is to use “so what” charts, take a look at some examples below:

Product/Service FeatureSurface BenefitDeeper Benefit
Insurance BrokerOver 30 years experienceKnowledgable and trusted.You can relax knowing you’ll get the best possible deal suited to you
that’s created by experts.
SoftwareAn artificial intelligence algorithmA user experience suited to your needs.View your data when you need it, without being overloaded with numbers.
Internet provider12 Mbps download speedDownload your files quickly.Spend less time waiting for your Netflix episodes to load –
and spend more time enjoying them!
IT support24/7 live expert agent supportAccess to expert advice anytime.IT problems won’t affect your work.
You’ll solve them in minutes by chatting online or picking up the phone.
HotelLocated in a central area.Travel around the area in minutes.Forget having to navigate an unknown city;
relax and enjoy the attractions on your doorstep.
Food deliveryDelivered within 30 minutes of placing order.Get your food quickly.No one wants to wait for food, so you won’t!
By the time you’ve got your plates ready, it will have arrived.

4. Refine your message with bridge statements

Lastly, take your deeper benefits and features and start crafting bridge statements to help connect your customer’s mental dots. For example:

“We offer SLG (Service Level Guarantees) with a monthly Service Availability of 99.0% [feature], which means [bridge] you’ll have ‘always on’ connectivity in your business [benefit]”.

Final Word: Gain the Skills To Tell Prospects ‘What’s in it for them’

Gain the foundational sales skills everyone in sales needs to master with Selling Your Solution Training, whether asking the right questions to uncover problems, presenting your solution effectively, tactfully overcoming objections or presenting so efficiently that closing becomes easy.

We equip participants with the knowledge and application skills to better assess customer needs, adopt a consultative selling approach, and avoid losing deals by not proposing inadequate solutions.

2 thoughts on “Features vs Benefits: 4 Steps To Answering “What’s in it for me?””

  1. Hi Tom,

    Got your point on focusing on the benefits. What are your thoughts on pain-based approaches which focus on the pain the customer faces and then introduces the features then benefits?

    Kind Regards,

    Akash Karia

    1. Hi Akash, thanks for your question. I prefer a consultative approach which includes questions about both pains and gains. Finding a balance between aspirational (what gain do they want to achieve) and implication or consequence (what pain do they want to avoid) questions will help you focus your presentation on the features and benefits that matter most to the customer.

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