Friday, November 7, 2008

Selling Services: What are the Benefits?

I was looking at snow blowers last week, reading through the literature and trying to compare specs of different models. I don’t know squat about the tech specs of snow blowers, but tell me “this model can shred a big block Chevy engine” and I’m sold. 

I get to see a lot of really bad web sites – sites that are struggling under the weight of too many keywords in two short a body of text, headlines with keywords crammed in with a shoe horn and complete, bot optimized text – boring.

But even today, there are website owners (and I assume designers) who develop sites that employ ineffective marketing text, leading to microscopic conversion ratios. The reason?

Features. Lists of them. In every snow blower tri-fold there was a long list of tech specs. And I suppose if you use a snow blower at work it might come in handy to learn a little about what these numbers mean. Probably not.


Sell Benefits Not Features

All of my snow-blower options come with an emergency STOP feature. Good. Very good. Ummm, why?

Well, it turns out the automatic stop feature prevents the machine from starting accidently while you’re unclogging the blades. Now NOT having your arm ripped off is a benefit anyone can understand. So, instead of just providing the feature, be sure to cover the benefits.

Service Providers and Product Merchants

If your client site sells products, it’s pretty easy to cram a product description into 60 words and provide a benefit or two: Ideal for the Heavy Runner; When security is a must, etc. These coupled with a professionally shot product picture usually provides all the information the prospect needs to make that all-important buying decision.

Not so much with service providers – every business from accounting services to chiropractics. In these cases, it’s essential to not only list service offerings but also the benefits delivered by these service offerings:

After completion of the Advantotex Morale Seminar, you will see:

  • an immediate drop in absenteeism  


  • fewer expensive turnovers of C-level managers


  • improved communication and cooperation between departments


Sure, you’d include a syllabus, target audience and other useful information that demonstrates your value – quantifies it if possible: “Average 198% increase in productivity within six months of implementation.” Sweet.

But list features and specs; highlight benefits. You just can’t assume the reader will make that critical connection between service offering/feature and “What’s in it for me?”

So sell the benefits and let those who need to understand the tech specs figure out if this is a good purchase or not.

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