PROFIT Magazine: “Unconventional Wisdom” Column, March 2010
With its cool condominium designs, innovative financing packages and creation of the largest Energy Star-certified community in North America, Toronto-based The Daniels Corp. could be Canada’s most progressive real estate developer. But its most-valuable innovation is its tagline: “Love where you live.”
By expressing the “super-benefit” of buying a Daniels condo, those four simple words overcome the features-and-benefits paradox plaguing all companies that lack a truly unique product. Which means most companies — and probably yours.
Here’s the problem. Customers are getting more knowledgeable, demanding and time-challenged, so you must state your value proposition in an instant. Communicate all the features and benefits of your not-so-different product, and you overwhelm your prospect with too much information. Tailor your list to the short attention span of today’s buyers, and you risk omitting an asset the customer is interested in — or simply sounding as if your product offers less than its competitors. There is no in between.
Like Daniels, a small but growing number of companies have discovered the way out of this dilemma: identifying and articulating the sum of the specific features and benefits their product offers. This super-benefit seizes a prospect’s attention and creates a context in which the product’s individual elements resonate more powerfully than they would on their own, and reduces a prospect’s natural inclination to compare one product with its rivals. It’s the ultimate answer to “What’s in it for me?” and even overcomes a customer’s own inability to say what they really want.
To discover your super-benefit, answer this question: “If features are the means, what is the ultimate end of my product or service to customers?” The answer sets the stage for a more effective sales story that uses features and benefits as the evidence of your ability to deliver the super-benefit.
We continually hear from executives that they no longer know what to say to prospects, because features and benefits alone aren’t working anymore. Delving deeper into the impact of your product or service to identify its super-benefit will make your features and benefits more powerful, ultimately resulting in faster and easier sales.
By Ian Chamandy and Ken Aber
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