For many years salespeople have been taught that one of the basic rules of selling is to sell the benefits that customers will gain from using the product or service they are selling as opposed to listing the features and advantages. ‘Sell the sizzle not the sausage’ is how I once heard it paraphrased.

I would like to challenge that!

Why? Well I believe that all customers are different, I believe we should respect them as individuals, and I believe we should recognise that what is beneficial to one individual is not necessarily beneficial to another.

Let’s explore this FAB selling further……………

Think about these three simple questions for a moment:

What is a Feature?
What is an Advantage?
What is a Benefit?

Here are three possible answers:
A feature is a statement about a product or a service.
An advantage is the consequence of the feature.
A benefit is what customer POTENTIALLY gains from using the product or service!

One of the major contributory factors to the negative image that salespeople have to endure in this country is that we assume too much, yet here we are being taught to assume what will benefit our potential customers.

How can we possibly know what will benefit our customers before we ask them about their individual circumstances?

A friend of mine was once involved in the launch of a fantastic piece of equipment, it could reduce labour time by up to 50%. The marketing collateral was of the highest quality, so too was the pre launch product training he received, he was very confident about this new opportunity and took great pride in demonstrating to me his ability to sell this revolutionary product.

I met with him at the end of his first day out selling and asked him how successful it had been, He told me how shocked he was in his third call of the day, when the potential buyer told him, “Wow you can save me up to 50% labour time, I wonder who will lose their job here, me or my brother!”

There is for me a critical word missing in FAB selling and that is ‘Potential’

After all, features and advantages are usually constant, but benefits aren’t! It is the job of a salesperson to establish exactly what WILL benefit each individual customer and shape their sales proposition around each customer’s specific needs, making sure the benefits outlined are beneficial to them.

This is much easier to do if the salesperson focuses on asking questions, as opposed to selling features, advantages and benefits.

You could say it’s no longer the job of a salesperson to sell; it is their job to make customers WANT to buy!