What's in it for me?

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Yep this is sales/marketing 101 but it is good info anyways! I tried to add a little more substance (the "why" it works part) to the presentation on Feature Advantage Benefit Statements. It might make working with FABs a little easier. I use FABs so often that I find myself naturally speaking this way. They work too! Most people concentrate on the use of FABs as a sales tool, but they work equally well when you are writing content. If you have ever been through a fantastic webinar, then chances are that they used FABs as well - which is another good place to use them especially when you can ad-lib them during the presentation itself. You can find similar tips and information on my blog at http://ledgen30.com/blog/

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What's in it for me?

  1. 1. “That’s A Lot Of Features…But What’s In It For Me?” The Case to Use Feature Advantage Benefit Statements (FABs)
  2. 2. A Little BackgroundIf at one time (like me) you sold photocopiers business-to-business, thenyou’ll probably find this information largely a review. For most of ushowever, we have never had a sink or swim experience that dependedupon mastering the Feature Advantage Benefit Statement, morecommonly referred to as a FAB.
  3. 3. The ProblemBecause most of us talk about our products and servicesin terms of features and knowledge dumps, we don’tallow our prospects or customers to develop anunderstanding of what the benefits are (we think thebenefits are inherent, when they are not). What this reallymeans to us is that we miss opportunities to triggerbuying responses and as a result our marketing materialsare less effective, and our sales are not nearly as goodas they could be.When people speak about bad marketing content, orcontent that lacks thought leadership, a lot of that can betraced to a lack of benefit statements. Good marketingcontent always provides the reader with enough benefitsto answer the WIFM question (What’s in it for me?).Marketing today is dependent on the self publishing ofcontent, yet so much of this content lacks basicmarketing structures, or stated benefits. Many of us aredoing more harm than good, never realizing that ourcontent is stagnating our social media accounts, is killingour traffic, and deters people from talking about ourproducts and services.
  4. 4. Using Features, Advantages and Benefits: It is our responsibility as the representative of our products and services to make it abundantly clear as to what is in it for a client or prospect. The most effective way to do this is by utilizing FABs. Feature, Advantage, Benefit Statements build a mental picture for your prospects as to why your product or service is the most effective means to meet their needs or alleviate a pain. This is no small concept that you should be breezing over… People buy products or services less on an analytic basis – and more on emotion. They tend to rationalize their decisions after the fact. And FABs certainly do build mental pictures, and this too is critically important to understand, because it has to do with how our brains process information, and where in our brains buying decisions are made.
  5. 5. FABs and the Brain: I talked about how brains work in a presentation I built about mind maps. The presentation provides a fun exercise that demonstrates our brains at work. But if you don’t want to go there right now, let me try to explain quickly… Our brains don’t make decisions on a linear basis (if they did, then feature dumps about products and services would work just fine). Instead our brains retain and form thoughts, and buying decisions, based on a radial hierarchy of associated bits of information. Our brains rarely retrieve or store information via “text” – but through images, smells, sounds, textures, or taste – makes sense doesn’t it? (pun intended).When you deliver benefit statements to a prospect, what you are really doing is triggering a mental image ofthe things the prospect will experience (sense) with the use of your product or service. Each benefitbecomes associated with any other number of bits of information. Benefit statements trigger positiveassociations, like a larger paycheck or a promotion, while feature statements like the response to “Howmuch does it cost?” may trigger negative associations like receiving an overdraft notice from the bank, orhaving to submit an “out-of-line” expense report. For expediency I am over simplifying things – but if youdon’t believe me the research is out there. Learn for yourself.
  6. 6. Triggering the Buying Impulse/DecisionBenefits alleviate pain and although not directly part of your FAB – helping your prospect to identify a pain they arefacing will cause your subsequent FAB to have a more powerful effect. In a face to face meeting this is easy toachieve, simply ask. With marketing content however, you might have to state it for your prospect. In my case, Imight make a pain statement such as this:“Are you tired of wasting your marketing budget with an agency that underdelivers and over promises?”I identified a pain that a certain number of my prospects may be experiencing(sensing). The prospects that can identify with the pain will likely want to read further.FABs also help you to differentiate a feature by attaching the benefit (mostpeople, especially small businesses skip the FAB step altogether… just using FABshelp to differentiate you). When you state the benefit you are demonstrating the gainof your product or service. In my case, I might follow the pain statement with a FABthat looks like this:“LēD GĕN 3.0 believes in a set of guiding principles:Communication, Education, Prioritization, and Involvement. Using theseprinciples we will stay in touch, exchange knowledge and skills, adjust ourgoals as issues arise, and participate on your project together. This approachwill allow you to achieve your objectives, avoid bad surprises, and be left withprogress rather than a hole in your budget.”
  7. 7. Creating Contrast: What does this have to do with triggering a buying decision? A lot. It goes back to how our brains work and where decisions are made. It is believed, and there is evidence to suggest that buying decisions, especially impulses, are related to the limbic system. This is sometimes referred to as the “old brain.” In theory the old brain is looking for contrast – a result of evolutionary pressures where we had to find contrast between the lion and the grass. When we see contrast it causes a response and in threatening situations this might have been the fight or flight response; do we run to the closest tree? or stand our ground with a spear? The See the lion? benefit? The response should represent the best chance at survival.When it comes to triggering buying responses or impulses we see similarities in how the brain functions, but intoday’s modern world, survival is linked to three “modern” things: productivity, profitability and image. In amodern world, FABs produce the necessary contrast for our prospects and clients to envision a boost inproductivity, a bigger paycheck, or an increase in status/power. From there our guts take over (either a “gottahave it” or a “gotta learn more” reaction) – it’s only when you get into the board room, or kiss your wife hello thatyou lay out the rationalization for your purchase, or what you want to buy.
  8. 8. How to Build a FAB: Your company’s interaction with customers and the information they provide you will enable you to use FAB statements to positively influence sales, create a positive company image, generate brand identity, and provide better differentiation/group identity. If you have heard about “buyer personas” this is part of what takes place in building a profile… fitting benefits with needs, or solving pains for a like group of prospects. What you are doing is making the buying process shorter for that group of prospects. Since 80% of the sales process is information and research gathering and as long as you state the benefits better than someone else, then the more likely it is that you trigger the buying decision and get the sale. F is for Feature – Answers: What is the feature? “Because of ______________,” A is for Advantage – States: What the feature does. “…you can ______________,” B is for Benefit – Provides: The answer to the WIFM question. “…what this really means to you is ______________.” Because of FABs, you can positively influence your prospects to purchase your products and services. What this really means to you is ______________ !”
  9. 9. Would You Like More?Michael YearsMarket Development ConsultingLēD GĕN 3.0561-819-8179http://ledgen30.commikeyears@ledgen30.comTwitter: @mikeyears

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