[This is a guest post that I wrote for Planner’s Lounge but it covers such an important topic that I wanted to share it here as well]

Original iPod

“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.” -Theodore Levitt (American economist and professor at Harvard Business School)

Did you know that a company by the name of Creative Technology tried to sell MP3 players before Apple ever came up with the iPod? I’m willing to bet you didn’t and there is a good reason for that. The reason Creative Technology didn’t succeed is because they focused on the features. They described their player as a 6GB MP3 player. That means nothing to most people. When Apple came out with the 5GB iPod in 2003, they described it as “1000 songs in your pocket”. That made all the difference in the world.

Sell the solution, not the process

Have you ever gone to the store and thought “I’ll buy this floor cleaner because I really like floor cleaners!”? I certainly hope not! People buy cleaning products so that they can have a clean house and you can go even deeper into why someone wants a clean house. There was an ad here in the UK for a toilet cleaner that insisted your guests are judging you based on how clean your toilet is. I thought it was odd because I would hope my friends aren’t that shallow, but I couldn’t deny that it was brilliant because it spoke people who want to impress their house guests. The product is just the vehicle to get them to their destination.

What is your customer’s destination?

You’ll need to know the difference between features and benefits in order to implement this so here are some definitions:

A feature is what your product or service has. For wedding planners this includes hours a client gets with you, checklists, budgets, vendor recommendations, etc.

A benefit is what those features mean to your customer. How do the features benefit them? Maybe you save them time, money or stress. Your customer doesn’t know that from reading how many hours they get with you, they only know that when you tell them that is what they get.

Features speak to the logical part of our brains, but not the emotional part. That is what we need benefits for. In order to figure out what the benefit is for each feature you have ask “so what?” from your client’s perspective. It might be helpful to do this with someone you trust instead of doing it alone.

Here’s an example:

  • A wedding planner might say “We recommend vendors to our clients”….so what?
  • So they don’t have to find them without our guidance……so what?
  • So they know their wedding is in good hands……..so what?
  • So they can enjoy their engagement without feeling stressed or worried about who to trust

Bingo!

You can either just use the benefit in your copy or use the feature and the benefit with “so that” in between. Here that would be “We recommend vendors to you so that you can enjoy you don’t spend your engagement stressing out and worrying about who to trust”. Doesn’t that sound so much more enticing than just selling the feature?

How can you make the language that you use more enticing and easier to understand? Take some time today to review your website and marketing copy to see how you can go from something no one understands like “6GB MP3 Player” to something people can get excited about like “1000 songs in your pocket”.