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Make a Statement

If you want to motivate prospects and customers, show them the benefits.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the March 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Quite possibly, the most important thing you could do today would be develop a single, unified benefit statement that will become the crux of your sales and marketing message.

The best way to create your own unique benefit statement is to make a comprehensive list of the features of your company and its products or services. Even if you're starting a homebased business, you can draw on your past experience to flesh out the list.

Let's say you're a mechanical engineer, and you've invented a piece of equipment that'll revolutionize the way a particular manufacturing process is performed. You've just started your business, so you need to develop a benefit statement. Begin by recording all the principal features of your new piece of equipment, including the fact that it has only eight moving parts instead of 16, incorporates digital computer technology and takes up less than three feet of floor space.

Next, list the special characteristics of your new company, including free ongoing technical support and guaranteed five-day delivery anywhere in the United States. Mention your background in mechanical engineering and experience prior to founding your firm, as well as your past inventions or successes, and any awards you've won.

When your account of the features is complete, turn it into a shorter list of benefits. Groups of features, often as many as six or eight, can translate into the same benefit. And benefits answer the question from the prospect's point of view, "What's in it for me?"

A machine with eight moving parts (not 16 like the older model) is an important feature. To translate it into a benefit, consider the ramifications of using a product once it's on the factory floor. With fewer moving parts, there's less opportunity for something to go wrong; that means fewer breakdowns. Buyers can expect fewer hours or days lost while repairs are being made. So your new product reduces downtime, increases efficiency and helps customers increase production. Take this example a step further and consider what's in it for customers if they increase production--increased profitability or sales.

By focusing on benefits, you'll prompt prospects to read your brochures and spend time with your direct-mail pieces. You'll demonstrate within the first 30 seconds of a cold call that what you have is valuable.--Excerpted from Kim T. Gordon's Bringing Home The Business: The 30 Truths Every Home Business Owner Must Know (Perigee, $13.95)

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