Sell More by Telling A Story of Benefits
Want to make a sale? Craft a compelling story that includes the benefits your product brings. It will make you unique, memorable, and valued.
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Every day, businesses around the world grapple with the same issue. How can I increase sales? The answer to this question is the defining factor between those who are successful and those who fail. It is obvious that figuring it out is not easy when 90% of all businesses fail and 70% shut their doors within two years (Exploding Topics).
What do those that survive have that those that fail do not? Is it a better product or concept? Maybe, but I have seen spectacular products failing to get traction. Is it simply that the founders are more determined than those that have failed? To some extent, yes. However, the real reason most companies fail is due to poor marketing and sales. While they have all the passion in the world, and a product they believe in, they don’t understand how to communicate that to the world.
We have preached, on so many blogs and videos, that if you are a founder without marketing and sales expertise, the first hire you need to make is in Marketing and Sales. If you can’t afford to hire, enlist the aid of a Fractional Chief Growth Officer who can cover both functions. Often, these individuals can be obtained for equity or commission if you don’t have the revenue to bring on a contract person for a limited number of hours.
For those stubborn individuals who are determined to go it alone, to roll the dice, we have a story for you that we hope you will benefit from.
Sell The Benefits
Every founder is proud of the features their product has. The bells and whistles were developed and implemented with great care balancing the costs and benefits for each one. Sadly, NOBODY cares about the features of your product. Not even your mother. They only care about how it will benefit them or make them feel.
Humans are emotional beings, and our purchasing decisions are often driven by emotions rather than pure logic. By focusing on the benefits, marketers can tap into customers' emotions and create a stronger connection with the product.
Nikon cameras are some of the more technically advanced high-tech cameras made. Their features and specifications stack up against any camera. Yet, most of their ads do not focus on their product’s advanced features but on how using their cameras will make you feel. For example, this ad shows a person in a remote area looking out at the vista. The main text on the page simply says “I am Marco Polo.”
Last I looked, Marco Polo came centuries before the advent of the camera and has zero correlation with it. But the ad does target those individuals who have the spirit of adventure and suggest if you own a Nikon camera, you, too, will have a reason to take and record your adventures.
Why does selling benefits work? There are a few reasons.
Emotions Sell – When you are selling benefits, you touch on their needs and wants. Allowing them to see a path forward, away from the problems that are plaguing them. Everyone wants to find something that makes them feel, look, or sound better. We want that magic item that makes us more attractive and desirable. So, you can give that woman the formulation of that perfume or show that someone wearing that perfume is desirable. Which would motivate you to buy?
Benefits are Easier to Remember – If one showed you a camera’s telescopic lens and gave you the specifications as to why it is so powerful in one ad, and in the second showed you a close-up picture of the moon, taken using that lens, which would be more memorable and powerful to you? That image of the moon will be how you think of that lens for all time.
Differentiation – The sad truth is that for every product there is a competitor with similar functionality and features. Nothing is truly unique in the world, because once a product is successful, somebody will build a competitive version. Take cellular phones. The two major competitors are Samsung and Apple. Each of their flagship phones has similar features. While one may have a longer battery life, the other will claim superiority in a sleek design.
But people don’t plop down over a thousand dollars for the newest model from their favorite vendor. If they were buying based on features, there are a lot of less expensive competitors and older models that have the same or similar functionality. They buy the newest phone for what it says about them. It bolsters their self-esteem and says how they want society to view them.
After all, who doesn’t want to buy an iPhone, so your life is easier?
Editors Note - I have been searching my iPhone and have not yet found the feature that does that. If you are aware of that feature, please share in the comments.
The moral of this story is to rethink how you are presenting your product and look for ways to reposition it to speak to how the targeted audience will benefit from those wonderful, and absolutely necessary, features you built.
It's Story Time
Speaking of stories, every one of us is tired of all the commercial ads that we are continually bombarded with. Try to read an article on your phone and the popups of unwanted and unneeded items are continuous. We are all bombarded with so much information that most of the time it is meaningless chatter.
I have seen a lot of articles that try to isolate the actual number of ads the average person sees each day, and frankly, there is no definitive source. In an article by Lunio, they claim we see between 6,000 to 10,000 ads each day. In another, by The Drum, they cite studies that suggest we see less than 500 ads each day. And 75 Media brings that number down to between 50 to 400.
I have no idea how many ads I see each day, and I am not about to count them. However, what I do know is that we can no longer avoid ads. At one time, the ads could only be found on TV, radio, magazines, and billboards, so you could avoid them if you wished. Now, we all live in, and through, our phones which share ads on every platform. Sometimes, when you simply want to read an article a loud ad for something interrupts you and everyone around you.
While we are sick of being sold to through ads, we ALL love a good story. I will share a story to make a point of how storytelling can sell your products and get free unpaid traction.
In November 2023, a woman who goes by the handle @danimarielettering (Danielle) posted a story on TikTok. She told a tale of how her car was completely destroyed in a fire, but one item looked as if it was untouched by the flames. The Stanley thermos cup in her console not only looked untouched, but the ice inside had not melted.
This TikTok went completely viral, not only on that platform, but across multiple social media platforms and television news stations across the country and the world. The cup's durability, and temperature control, have left many people impressed.
Stanley Bottle, which has been around since 1913, knew exactly how to make this story one of the best ads they could have ever written. A few days after it started to go viral, Stanley President Terence Reilly posted his own video offering to replace her tumbler. But he did not stop there, the brand bought Danielle a brand new car to replace the one that was destroyed.
The power of storytelling took off with over 82 million views on TikTok, with similar results on other social platforms (USA Today). Almost every news outlet from radio, television, and print shared the feel-good story of the year. While Stanley has rightly not released the increase in sales attributed to all this attention, it is safe to say that they could not have afforded to buy the level of attention and goodwill this brought.
Storytelling works for much of the same reason as sharing the benefits of a product. It evokes your emotions and grabs your attention. Let's look at what a good yarn accomplishes.
Becomes Memorable - One of the reasons that storytelling is so effective is that stories are easier to remember than statistics or facts. When the same information is shared by storytelling and reciting of facts, 63% of the people remember the story and only 5% recall the facts (Power of Storytelling).
Creates Connections and Trust - When you listen to a story being told, you adopt the themes and the values of that experience as your own. Your mind visualizes the information, so that it seems more real and personal (Quartz).
Motivates - Since you are "living" the experience, while listening to the story, it begins to become your own. The value of the product seems more apparent, because you connected the dots on your own and were not just fed information.
While features provide valuable information about a product, it is the benefits that truly resonate with customers and drive their purchasing decisions. By understanding and effectively communicating the benefits, marketers can address customer needs, create emotional connections, differentiate from competitors, overcome objections, and ultimately build customer satisfaction and loyalty. By selling the benefits, businesses can position their products as valuable solutions that enhance the lives of their customers.
Combine the benefits into a good story. and you created a compelling narrative that will grab the attention of the listener, make the messaging memorable and will set the stage for them to take that final step. Make the purchase.