Now we’re going to talk about features versus benefits, but not like everyone else does.

Everyone else says “Tell the customer how they will benefit from giving YOU their hard-earned money!”

Our approach is more “Figure out why the customer would actually WANT to give you money in the first place, as opposed to spending it on anything else. Then mention THAT.”

Essentially, you’ll make a lot more sales thinking about why the customer cares about the purchase. (We already know why YOU want them to buy.)

Features are something you offer. Benefits are what that something MEANS.

If you offer around-the-clock email support to design clients, that’s a feature.

For a client, being able to email you anytime they want and get a quick response is a benefit.

If you offer overnight shipping for your artwork, that’s a feature.

The fact that your customer can get that art in time for the anniversary they almost forgot is a benefit.

See the difference?

(If you’re saying “Yes, Naomi, I know what a benefit is,” then keep reading.

Here’s something you probably haven’t thought of.

A slightly different approach to benefits you might want to consider.

Everybody wonders “How can I get people to BUY?”

Very few people wonder “Why haven’t they bought from someone else already?”

Two very different questions. And two very different answers.

Focus on the first, and you’re on the road to learning how to more efficiently twist people’s arms and getting your graphic artist to make you bigger, brighter “Buy” buttons. That should probably say “Buy right NOW!!!!”

Let’s not think about that for the moment.

Why haven’t they bought already?

Well, there can be a lot of reasons.

It’s your job to figure them out.

Maybe they’re not buying already because they think a designer will get too artistic and not respect their business decisions.

Maybe they’re not buying because they think that they can’t easily ask you questions about your art before they fork over the cash.

Maybe they’re not buying because they have no frame of reference of what the experience is like (i.e., testimonials from other customers).

It’s easy to think your offerings are so great and so worthy that people who don’t buy from you are, on some level, being unreasonable. They just don’t “get” the benefit of what you offer them.

But people ARE reasonable.

You may not like their reasons, but they’re valid.

When you can position your features with descriptions of the benefits in the language that represents what THEY care about, now they’re listening. And soon, they’re buying.

Because your creative work can’t just be GOOD. Every artsy type and designer says their stuff is good. You have to understand why it would be good for THEM.

And specifically, why it sounds good enough that paying you is a better idea than holding on to their money.

How to actually do this.

The first step is simple. You basically list out all the features of what they get when they pay you money.

You can do X and Y and Z for clients in X and Y and Z capacity. Or you can ship them specific kinds of art, with custom frames or display cases or whatever. You’re flexible in payment terms. You’re available for email or phone calls if there are questions.

Ok, now you’ve got that. On to the second step.

Now look at all those features and write down why those things are good for the client in and of themselves.

They can look really good or professional or competitive when they get X and Y and Z. Or they can enjoy fine art (or not so fine art!) in their home or office. In other words, they get some level of happiness about the creative things you do for them.

Ok, now you’ve got that. On to the third step.

Now, look at all of those Very Good Things and imagine they had to borrow money from Joe to buy these benefits from you.

Which means they have to justify it to Joe, who lent them money for this other thing that didn’t really make them happy, and Joe remembers the experience.

What would make Joe feel like lending that person money would be a good idea? Joe would have to be pretty sure that the benefit was real and valid and going to actually happen.

“Joe, this piece of art is really beautiful!” isn’t going to cut it, because Joe doesn’t care. Lots of art is beautiful.

But “Joe, you’ve ALWAYS said you wanted to finally have something special in the house to say “you’ve arrived,” and this thing is special … and besides, you’ll finally be able to have something to brag about to your mother-in-law next time she comes over”?

THAT has Joe’s attention.

THAT’S something real.

And that’s what gets the Visa card out.

There’s a lot more to a benefit than just the benefit.

Yes, benefits are good. But in order to get them selling your products and services, they have to be meaningful as well.

Not intrinsically meaningful. Specifically meaningful.

So today, think about what you do, and what general benefits it gives to your buyers.

Then think about why that’s meaningful to them. Then think some more. When you think you’re done, keep thinking.

Eventually, you’ll end up with ideas that you can communicate that will actually lead to sales, because the client will realize that finally – FINALLY – someone understands them.

That’s your job.

Put some time into this one. The more you understand why your buyers want to buy, the easier it will be to make them feel comfortable doing so.

Now, let’s move on to the fifth and final lesson.