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How To Build Benefits From Features Fast And Easy With The Solution Approach

By Expert Author: Thomas Ward

Every salesperson and fledgling copywriter hears the harangue: DON'T SELL the FEATURES of a product - SELL the BENEFITS those features bring!!!
The concept's important but it confuses a lot of people. Many sellers don't understand how to build a benefit from a feature. Back when I was first learning to write sales copy, I didn't know how myself. I just knew it was critical I figure it out.
Finally I realized what the problem was. You can't get there from here. You don't actually turn a feature into a benefit. You have to approach it from a different point - the solution approach.
Here's the full process...
When you're looking for the benefit, don't start by focusing on the feature. Instead figure out the problem the feature is supposed to solve. Then, determine what solving that problem could MEAN to the prospect. This payoff - what the solution means to the prospect - is really all a benefit is.
Here's an example...
Product: Car
Feature: Cruise Control that automatically maintains a set speed without the constant pressure of your foot on the gas pedal.
One Problem it solves: lets you maintain speed limit without constant attention
What the solution means to the prospect: Maintaining the speed limit means you avoid breaking the law which means you avoid getting a ticket which means you avoid higher insurance premiums.

Here's a benefit headline that naturally flows from the Payoff we found in our example:
Avoid Speeding Tickets and the Higher Insurance Premiums They Cause
Cruise Control solves another problem too: the driver's leg doesn't tire from having to maintain a fixed position to keep the accelerator pressed
What the solution means to the prospect: Avoiding the tiredness of a fixed position means you arrive fresher and ready to enjoy your destination which means your companions or family enjoy your company more.
And here's a benefit-based lead we could write from this solution:
Face it. It's not much fun for your family when you finally arrive at Disney but you're grumpier than an old bear with a bad back. After all, you probably feel about the same as if you spent every winter scrunched up in the same position.
It's not your fault. Driving is naturally tiring when you have to sit in exactly the same position for hundreds of miles at a time. Your gas-pedal foot is frozen, your leg is paralyzed. You can't help stiffening up and getting achy. WHO WOULDN'T BE GRUMPY?
Good news. You wouldn't be - not if you had Easy-Street-O-Matic Cruise Control. Not anymore.
Just imagine. Driving in complete comfort, able to shift in your seat any time to get a more relaxed position. It's okay to move that leg around. It's safe!
Now when you reach Disney, you'll be first to bound out of the car. The kids will have to run to keep up. They won't believe their new Dad!
(Yes, I know this tongue-in-cheek example is pushing the bounds of credibility slightly. But it makes the point. Find the solution that a feature offers and then figure out what that means to your prospect. There's your benefit.)
Here's another example...
Product: Daily Supplement for Men
Feature: Contains naturally occurring nutrients that are not acid-forming like chemically derived nutrients.
Problem it solves: Can be taken on an empty stomach at any time because natural nutrients are self-buffering.
What the solution means to the prospect: You'll be able to take the supplement whenever it's convenient for you without worrying about an upset stomach because you haven't eaten. That means you'll be more likely to take it regularly which means you'll get the benefits of greater energy and health. Ultimately that will lead to a longer, healthier life, especially since to be effective against diseases like cancer that take a long time to develop, you must be taking the defensive nutrients over an equally long period.
I'll leave it to you to build some headlines and leads from this second example. Once you have the benefits, it's a lot easier.
The next time you need to create sales material, use this Solution Approach to build your benefits. It will go a lot faster once you approach it from the right point.

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