When we appraise new technology, for example deciding on what mobile phone to purchase, most of us tend to get drawn in to the features. Some of you may understand this, to others it will be jargon, but consider these features for a phone that I happened to look at:
OS: Android v4.4.2
CPU: Quad-core 2.5 GHz
As if I was testing him, the salesman in the shop I was in was very keen to sell me the features of each phone, quickly reeling off the above and more. Luckily I am astute with technology so I could understand the features and work out the benefits of purchasing this phone for myself.
This example raises a very pertinent point, that too often companies are focussed on heavily promoting the features of their latest product without really telling us what the benefits of these are to the ordinary consumer.
As way of example, in one of the earlier iterations of the Samsung Galaxy series there was a much lauded feature of being able to unlock the phone using facial recognition. A gimmicky feature but actually any benefit was probably outweighed by the fact that in tests (and I did try this), the phone could be unlocked by simply presenting a photograph of the owner instead. The fact that my phone could be also be unlocked through facial recognition by a girl is another matter.
Businesses will often sell to customers as if they are industry insiders who understand exactly what they’re talking about. This is a dangerous assumption. My advice is to understand who you are talking to. By all means present the technical details if you know you are talking to a technically minded person. However if you are talking to a customer who wants to use your service or product to obtain a benefit for themselves, don’t just stick to a stock feature focussed response. Look at your response through a different lens, after all customers don’t buy features, they buy benefits.