Identifying Customer Benefits vs. Features

Product features and benefits are the first things you’ll sell a customer on. Make sure you know the difference between the two, and how to present them.

When it comes to selling the consumer on a new product or service, the topic of customer benefits and features will be your topline tool.

“Buy this model because of X!”

“You need this product because of Y!”

“Invest in this service because of Z!”

But when it comes to defining X, Y, and Z, can you distinguish between a customer benefit and a product feature?

Vickie Ashmore, the Training Delivery Manager for Lennox, and Linda Rummans, Senior Instructional Designer at Lennox, have some pointers on how defining features and benefits can affect your bottom line.

"It's important to first know the difference between a feature and a customer benefit," Ashmore says. "A feature is a specification or technical aspect like dimensions, savings, AFUE, SEER and important information for installation. Whereas a customer benefit is something the homeowner can relate to, like quietness, warranty, or efficiency."

Another great way to think of it, Rummans points out, is to think of a feature as something that is important to the dealer and a customer benefit as something that is important to the customer.

According to Ashmore and Rummans, there's a fine line between a feature and a customer benefit, which makes it easy to confuse them. When you start talking features with a customer instead of benefits, you'll often lose the customer and bury your chance for a sale in confusing technical jargon.

How do you combat features vs. benefit syndrome? Here are three tips for distinguishing between the two:

  • Create aids to help explain customer benefits. For example, a variable speed furnace is like a stovetop, where a range of different heat settings is necessary in order to cook. Infographics and other visuals are also vital to your success.
  • Role-play with neighbors, family or friends to identify technical jargon (features) in your sales pitch, and then replace with customer benefits.
  • Invest in training from Lennox’ own training department, HVAC Learning Solutions. The Service Sales Excellence - vILT™, BuildASalesperson™ and Master $elling® courses include topics such as customer benefits vs. features, and tips for successfully using features and benefits in your sales pitch.

Service Sales Excellence - vILT™, the new virtual instructor-led training from HVAC Learning Solutions, will teach you how to sell more maintenance agreements, helping to boost customer loyalty and ensure future business.

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Here are some products to practice your features vs. benefits skills with:

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