Understanding the features, functions and benefits of the product being sold must be a fundamental skill of every person involved in sales, ideally everyone involved in the company. From cars to private jets, from IT solutions to coffee machines, every product has features, which have functions and subsequently benefits, which all have a value to the customer or prospect
Having product knowledge itself is one fundamental part of the sales process. Used on its own it can potentially be confusing, boring and in the worst case actually delay or end the sale. Telling people the features and functions of a product without first understanding what their wants, needs and desires are can make the sales process incredibly difficult, extend the timescales and ultimately result in failure. Describing features and functions without highlighting the benefits relevant to each specific customer (which can only be possible with good qualification) is merely repeating what they may already know from a brochure, advert or the internet, and does not build any value for your product at all.
The key to selling and not telling is:
what does this mean to the prospect specifically?
and how much is it worth to them specifically?
How will this effect them or their business, what will this achieve and more importantly how much is this worth to them. These are some of the keys to maximising value, maintaining price and profitability whilst completing the sale.
The importance of the words in Italics (how & what) are, along with the other 4 key words, fundamental to the sales process and explained more fully in qualification
The feature of a product can only have value if the function creates a benefit for the customer. Even if the feature appears to be incredible or class leading (especially to the design and marketing team) if it cannot give a benefit to the customer then it is of no value in that specific situation.
Being able to analyse the features, functions and benefits of the product in conjunction with understanding the needs, wants and desires of the customer through qualification are the building blocks of a quality sale.