How To Talk About Features and Benefits

When you’re writing to sell, you’ve got to know the difference between features and benefits.

In this most recent series of articles, we’ve been exploring the world of copywriting – of writing to sell our products and services – and last week we focused right in on why we need to talk about the pain that our clients are in. This week, we’re going to the other end of the spectrum and we’re going to talk about pleasure.

Pleasure Awaits You On Your Journey

The pleasure of the life that our clients will be leading when they’ve had their breakthrough – when they’ve achieved the success that they yearn for. In other words, what it’ll feel like when the pain that brought them to us, is gone gone GONE! Yay!

Pleasure is fun to talk about, it’s high vibe, it’s exciting, and it’s tricky.

Yup, it’s true. When you’re writing to sell, you have to be super-clear on one very important distinction:

You have to understand the difference between Features and Benefits

I have seen so many entrepreneurs struggle with this and, honestly, it’s one of the biggest differences between amateur and professional copywriters.

Most people talk about features as if they were benefits and neglect to talk about the actual benefits very much at all.

So, we’re going to break it down so you can really see and feel the difference between features and benefits in the work that you do with your clients.

Let’s start with definitions.

Feature (noun): a distinctive attribute or aspect of something. 

For example, ‘our coaching calls will be 45 minutes long’, describes a distinctive characteristic (attribute / aspect) of my services.

Benefit (noun): an advantage or profit gained from something.

For example, ‘you’ll have crystal clarity about your biggest struggles’, explains what they’ll take away from our work together.

Ooh! I hope you can feel this. It’s so huge!! A feature is about the service or product and a benefit is ALL about the client. The feature is about the work, the benefit is about their profit – their return on investment from working with you.

The benefit is what they’ll take away and how their life will change.

And features can be very sneaky and sound like benefits so you’ve really got to sit with this until you can discern whether what you’re talking about is a feature or a benefit.

You Need Features + Benefits to Sell

Oh! And both are important. But benefits are more important when you’re writing to sell.

Benefits are what will light up your potential clients and get them leaning in.

Are you trying to sell by telling them what they’ll get? It won’t work.

You’ve got to tell them how they’ll transform. How their world will change.

Y’see, people make decisions emotionally and then look to justify them logically. First, we get the right brain on board by showing the possibilities and then we talk to the left brain and tick everything off of its list.

Using Features to Sell Coaching Doesn’t Work

Let’s say you’ve created a coaching package and you’re telling a potential client why they should work with you. You might say something like this:

“Ohmigosh, it’ll be so great. We have 3 calls per month, each call is about 45 minutes and, typically, my packages are 45 minutes long. I’ll use a combination of Reiki and deep listening, as well as energetics, astrology, powerful questioning, and goal setting during our calls.

To prepare for the calls, you’ll receive a form to fill out and we’ll celebrate your progress on each call. We’ll work from a plan of the goals you’ve set to make sure we keep making progress toward your goals. Doesn’t that sound great?”

Yawn. You’ve probably lost them now. All they’ve heard is how much work there will be.

Or, let’s say you’re an interior decorator:

“Ohmigosh, it’ll be so great. I’ll visit your home and do a thorough analysis of your space and its needs. We’ll look through mountains of fabric swatches and palettes to find just the right look for your home. I’ll get you to create a Vision Board to hone in on your style and I’ll source with my local and international suppliers to get the perfect items for your home. 

You’ll have email access to me as we go through the design phase and I’ll send you lists of what to look for when you’re out decor shopping – or I can do the shopping for you. Ooh! And I’ll come in at the end to install the furniture and make sure everything looks great. How does that sound?”

Yikes. I’m now terrified. Fabric swatches? Palettes? Shopping? Help! I just want my home to feel better.

And that’s the key.

People Just Want to Feel Better

People just want to feel better. Remember, they’ve come to you because they’re in pain. There is something in their world that is going wrong – maybe horribly wrong – and they’re looking for a solution. They’re looking for the pain to be taken away.

They don’t really care how the pain is going to disappear. They just want it gone.

When you focus on process – the HOW of how you’ll help with the pain – their eyes glaze over and they start to get worried. Will this work? Do I want 3 sessions per month? 45 minutes? Maybe I want 60? Maybe twice?

They start to get focused on the wrong thing. Their left brain starts picking apart your system because you haven’t yet sold them on the solution.

Does that make sense? Our left brain loves to pick things apart and analyze. And when we’ve had a problem for a long time that we haven’t been able to solve, we assume that the solution must be very complex and difficult.

What we’re looking for is an expert. Someone who has a system.

That someone had better be you.

(in fact, that’s what I teach in the Business Building Foundation – how to claim your expertise, develop your signature system, and then package it up in the most beautiful of ways. you can find out more about the BBF Packaging Bundle here.)

Instead of focusing on the features of the process you’ll take them through, focus on the transformation they’ll receive.

Using Benefits to Sell Your Coaching Packages

So, for the coaching, you might say something like:

“Remember those problems you were telling me about – the issues you’re having with your employees? … yeah… imagine knowing exactly what to say when they come to you with grievances. Imagine having a workplace that feels light. Feels good, right?

Imagine having a clear training and on-boarding system for new people so that they’re introduced to the positive, uplifting culture of your company right away so they can slide right in as smooth as silk. Wouldn’t that have a positive impact on sales? Wouldn’t it be great? Maybe it would even be more fun? Won’t it feel good to get to bed at a reasonable time because you’re not worried about what’s happening at work any longer?”

Can you feel the difference?

Or, for the interior decorator, it might sound more like this:

“Oh! You’re going to be so happy with your home when we’re finished. Imagine walking through your bright and spacious rooms where everything is tidy and in its place. The table in your living room makes you smile every time you see it – or even think about it – because it’s the perfect size and shape and in the right place – with the most gorgeous flowers on top of it.

Imagine wanting to invite people over for those family dinners you were telling me about – wanting to have people over because you feel proud of your home and it’s easy to entertain in. Hear the people congregating around your kitchen island while you finish your meal prep and there still being lots of room to move around. Oh, it’s going to be wonderful, won’t it?”

Doesn’t that feel different in your body? Does it give you a tingle?

Two BIG Reasons that Benefits Work Better Than Features

Why? 2 big reasons:

1) I’m painting a picture of the transformation, of the outcomes that they’ll achieve with visceral language, and

2) I’m directly addressing the pain that they’ve already told me about in the first part of our conversation.

Do you see? When I focus on features, it’s all about me and my process. When I focus on benefits it’s all about them and their transformation. 

And I can’t talk benefits until I know their pain. Always pain before pleasure so that we can customize the pleasure to solve their pain.

That’s what people want.

Give Your People What They Want

They want to know that you can solve their pain. That you can make their world better.

That they’re going to have a high return on investment.

When you learn to speak in terms of benefits instead of features, you’ll find people are leaning in and listening very closely.

Their heads might even start nodding as they wonder aloud how they might start working with you…

That’s a very good thing.

Remember: You’re here to build a new world.

And we’re here to help.

You don’t have to do it alone.

What questions do you have? How can we support you?