Sell the benefits, not the features. It’s one of the most basic of sales lessons, and has been said many times before. What often remains unsaid is ‘the benefits to whom?’ It’s really important that you work out who you’re selling to, and put yourself in their shoes.
One classic example is investors versus customers. I sit on a dry-run panel in Oxford, UK for companies looking to get angel investment. Most of the companies who pitch have a decent presentation. Some of them (much to my delight), start with ‘I can solve this problem for my customers’ rather than ‘my product/technology is great, it works like this’. However very few start with ‘my company is a good investment because…’ They’ve taken on the benefits not features message, but have forgotten to adjust to the audience. Show an investor that you have a big market hungry for your unique solution, you’re an experienced team and you know who will buy you out or what your exit strategy is. Convince them that you’re an opportunity not to be missed and that their money will come back many fold – and then back it up by describing why your customers will buy, how your technology works and how you will beat off competitors. All of the detail is important, but the investors need to be inspired, need to see some clear benefits to themselves before they’re interested in those details.
The same goes for any presentation. You have just a few minutes to convince someone to pay attention to what you have to say: so start with the benefits to them, and then move on to the detail once they’re convinced it’s worth listening. Put yourself in their shoes, and ask the crucial question: why do I care?
Got any other tips and tricks for working out what your audience wants to know? Has the ‘why do I care?’ question helped you change your perspective before? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.