Does Your Feature-Talk Make You Sound Like A Novice?


So I was reminded the other day over a cheeky sundowner about exercises I first ran way back almost twenty years ago.

They’re good for a little distraction in a sales meeting. Especially when you want the real punch of your wares to stay tippermost on a salesteam’s tongue.

My memory was jogged by talking about the ‘sell me this pen’ routines in the Wolf of Wall St movie.

The sunset discussion was with non-salespeople. So I got on to explaining how you can look at any product in different ways. Specifically, I mentioned the old-school building-blocks that is the hierarchy of Feature Advantage Benefit (or as some reps prefer when immune to the charms of Thunderbirds, Function rather than Advantage). I added the trusted Value and we were off and running.

Here was the on-the-spot stab at this for a pen performed with giggling gusto at the table.

This pen has a smooth grip,
which means that you get no callouses,
so you always feel stylish,
and will be desirable at all times

Cue laughter all round. “I’m a natural salesman!” exclaimed the lady delivering this. Isn’t it funny how all those not in our line think what we do is so easy.

Now this is not the perfect way to sell the pen. Or indeed any product. Yet understanding the theory helps propel any sales cause.

Familiar with Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers? He shone light on the fact that only the most experienced pilots forget to drop the landing gear when about to hit the runway. So it too can be with long-in-the-tooth sellers … they mysteriously revert to becoming feature-bound when describing product.

When you know the distinction between those F-A-Bs (& Vs) you can start to major on what truly ‘sells’.

Have a think about how you describe your products. Feature-laden? Happy you’re articulating the true Value?

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