We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Benefits

Just about the easiest thing to teach in a sales workshop is the benefit statement. Easy to figure out isn’t it?  You do the feature/benefit thing, then role play it.  Everybody breezes through it.

But go on a joint call with them and you never hear a benefit mentioned.  They drone on about the product, describe all the features and let the customer come to his own conclusions.  When I ask about this I often hear, “The customer can figure out what the benefits are. He’s not stupid.”

So let me share a quick story that Dan Ariely tells in his insightful book “Predictably Irrational.”  Dr. Ariely conducted an experiment at MIT in the student union, allowing groups of students to sample two kinds of beer and vote on which they liked best.  In the first sample, the students are told “Sample A is Sam Adams beer, brewed locally, which you are probably familiar with.  Sample B is the same Sam Adams but with a secret ingredient added to enhance the flavor.  Taste them both and tell us which you prefer.”  Results?  About 70-30 in favor of Sample B.

So they repeat the experiment with a new group.  Sample A is presented as in the first test, but Sample B is is positioned thus:  “Sample B is the same Sam Adams beer but with a few drops of balsamic vinegar added to it.”  Dr. Ariely writes that upon hearing the word “vinegar” many of the students made faces or wrinkled their noses.  Results?  Just the opposite, about 70-30 in favor of Sample A.  Of course as you have guessed the secret ingredient to enhance the flavor was balsamic vinegar.

People do make buying decisions based on hearing benefits because expectations influence experience. In later experiments Ariely showed that expectations actually affect brain activity, as it did with Pavlov’s dog.

So the next time someone in your session tries to tell you benefit statements are not that important, buy him a beer on me.

Next ”Fable Friday” I’ll share another story with you, this one on branding.  What does your company’s brand promise the market?  How often do you buy based on brand?  And what does barbecue sauce have to do with this?

In other news…

Our next email newsletter will be out next week.  If you didn’t get it, please visit our website at www.actionsystemstraining.com and click the “Contact Us” button.

Meanwhile, remember to

Think Like Your Customer!

About Gregory LaMothe
I teach people how to sell things. I own the company ActionSystems. Visit my website at www.actionsystemstraining.com.

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