Accelerate the sale: personalize it to the buyer’s real reason for buying

You are more inclined to listen to the buyer who points out the benefits of having the shirt on; like, “It accentuates your chiseled torso or emphasizes your hip movement.”

Stating the benefits of your product isn’t enough to accelerate the sale; to do so, you need to customize them to the respective buyer. The need to do so is even more profound in the business to business (B2B) sale.  It’s been said ad nauseam- customers don’t buy features they buy benefits. Unfortunately, most sales people still focus on the features; today, though, I wish to address those who’ve (commendably) migrated to sharing benefits with the buyer; and, to urge them not to stop there but to transcend to personalizing those benefits commensurate to the buyer.

Feature vs benefit

First though, what’s the difference between a feature and a benefit?  The features of the shirt you have are that it is a standard design with buttons down the middle, a collar and is either short or long sleeved. The material could be cotton, polyester, silk or such other.  Like most people you would incredulously dismiss the seller who tells you to buy it because of its features. That is, it has buttons, is short sleeved and velvet. You are more inclined to listen to the one who points out the benefits of having it on; like, “it accentuates your chiseled torso or emphasizes your hip movement.”  Or, “You’re unlikely to find anyone else in it because it’s a limited edition.”

These benefits are the real reason why we buy the shirt, much as it’s the features that woo us to it. And personalizing the benefits to the buyer accelerates the sale because the buyer instantly affirms his reason for buying; this is because he connects with what you are saying. In the illustration shared the benefits have been respectively personalized to a man, woman and the trend setting buyer. Benefits sell, features tell.

Help buyer see it

Unlike in the business to individual sale, in the B2B sale, it is not as easy for the buyer to ‘see’ it.  It therefore becomes the seller’s responsibility to shine the light. And so, to the one selling research services for instance, the telecommunications company buyer will be interested in the benefit that he will be able to optimize his communication budget. This is because your research findings will scientifically inform him of the most effective way to spend it.

The same benefit may not resonate as effectively with the non-governmental organization (NGO). The NGO will be more likely moved with the benefit that (scientifically) reporting to donors on the impact of the projects will be made easier and more effective. And will likely make it easier for them to loosen their purse strings some more.  Compare these two scenarios with the plain ‘benefit’ that our research findings allow you to make an informed scientific decision.  True-just not sufficiently pointed to accelerate the sale.

Extra mile

Of course, to thrive in personalizing the benefit calls for an added effort on the seller. To have done an effective prognosis of the buyer’s reason for buying and not assume, “But the buyer already knows”. Don’t be surprised that when you do this you reveal other benefits even the buyer himself had not seen.

Try it. Let me know.


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