The difference between above-target sales and misery
Read these before-and-after extracts from a sales quotation. Which would you buy? And which reads more like yours? (The company and the product has been camouflaged)
‘Every Jackson Air Compressor is hand-assembled by a qualified engineer with a minimum of ten year’s experience. (Feature) It is subjected to thirty-two stringent quality tests before it is certified for delivery to you. (Feature) This unrivalled attention to detail ensures exceptional reliability (Feature) and a long, fault-free compressor life. (Feature-benefit) In addition, every Jackson compressor is covered by an industry leading, seven-year parts and labour warranty. (Feature)’
Sound good, but is it really?
Now try the same communication but re-written to connect with Valued Outcomes for the customer.
More effective ‘valued outcome’ copy
You can trust a Jackson Air Compressor to work reliably year after year without fail. (Feature) It’s one important part of your auto workshop that you won’t need to worry about again. (Valued Outcome) And with our comprehensive seven-year service and parts warranty, you won’t need to budget for future repair bills either. (Valued Outcome) That gives you more money for other plant and equipment, (Valued Outcome) perhaps the new Jackson multi-function air guns, to speed up your servicing and repairs. (Valued Outcome) And Jackson compressor are known to last up to twice as long as lower priced alternatives. (Feature) That’s important for you because, in the long-term, a Jackson compressor costs you significantly less. (Valued Outcome)
Notice the difference? Valued Outcomes are easy to spot because they are about how the customer gains. Also, notice how the copy is almost twice as long, but twice as effective.
How valued outcomes improve all your customer communications
Nine out of ten customer communications fail to connect effectively with what the customer wants to achieve. These include customer presentations, websites, brochures, e marketing, exhibition stands and your sales proposals or quotations. Few give prospective customers compelling reasons to buy or to choose you.
I dare you to check out your own customer communications. And also consider what you say or present in your customer meetings. What would I hear if I listened in? Can you imagine a customer interrupting you in mid-sentence, “Stop right there, I need time to think through how that feature-benefit you just mentioned might improve my company and help me personally.”
The problem is this; feature benefits require the customer to interpret how they will gain…
- Many won’t bother or don’t have the time.
- Some are too embarrassed to ask and say, “I understand”, when they don’t.
- Others don’t know enough about a feature to connect it to what they want to achieve.
- Almost all fail to identify one or more important reasons to buy from you.
- Some see your feature-benefits as negative. ‘Thirty two stringent qualitytests’ seems over-the-top to me. What do you think?
My car service includes 34 individual checks! Are they all necessary? Or are they an excuse to charge me more? Please tell me what’s in it for me, so I can trust you as my supplier.
And one final point. Before you meet, most customers already have a good idea of what they want to achieve. However, they may not know that you can deliver it. You need to reassure them. For example; ‘My Company barely makes a profit, I need to reduce my costs.’ If you are an accountant pitching to win my business, feature-benefits about your services do little to reassure me. If you show and tell me how you can reduce my costs and cut my tax liability (valued outcomes) - and you do need to spell it out - you’ll confirm what I want to hear. If you don’t, I’ll kiss you goodbye.
Now think how you can use valued outcomes to increase your sales.
It makes perfect sense. Give it a go.