As an engineer I look for proof points. The scientific method is the tool I use to validate proof points. Ask a Question, Do some Research, Form a Hypothesis, Test the Hypothesis, Analyze, Come to a Conclusion. Don’t hold this against me, but keep in mind that it has served me (and mankind) pretty well. The question is … Can this same methodology be used to evaluate sales & marketing pitches?
Can logic be applied to Sales & Marketing efforts?
I think the answer is yes. I’m pretty sure we all do this even without thinking about it, but I felt it might be worthwhile to write a quick post about it and get your thoughts.
Do you know a Benefit when you see it?
When you are making a decision how do you differentiate between a Feature, an Advantage and a Benefit? Do you ask the FAB question? Where the FAB Question is --- Is this a Feature, Advantage, or a Benefit?
FAB - Feature, Advantage, Benefit
What’s the difference?
|Feature||A functional element|
|Advantage||A differentiating factor|
|Benefit||Adds the desired value|
A Practical Example – Buying a Car
When buying a car and the sales rep says something like its got the biggest engine in its class or it’s got the largest payload. The question you should be asking yourself is … Is this a Benefit for me? Only YOU can decide which features are actually benefits.
Of course, a good sales rep would have asked you at least a few questions about your needs. However, if you see a commercial for a car or come across an infomercial you still should be asking yourself the FAB Question --- Is this a Feature, Advantage, or a Benefit?
A real world example of why we have a Chevy Suburban
Statement: This car seats 7
At which point you should be asking yourself the FAB Question and you should be thinking …. Is this a:
|Feature||Yes. Everything is a feature (in a sense).|
|Advantage||Hmmm. There are other vehicles that seat 7. Is this the right one?|
|Benefit||Is this really a benefit? Only we could decide. Since we regularly drive our kids and their friends around the extra seats are necessary.|
|Conclusion||Because of the seating for 7 and the 4 wheel drive and the towing package and several other features we deemed to be “benefits” we selected the Chevy Suburban. (PS – It’s been a great car)|
I am not suggesting this should be used for everything you do in your life. However, I am suggesting you do a FAB Analysis when you are looking to make an important decision. Don't let the company or person selling the product define YOUR benefits. Only you can do that.
I hope that the next time you are faced with a sales rep, some marketing material, or that late night infomercial that you ask yourself the FAB question --- Is this a Feature, Advantage, or a Benefit?
How about you?
- Do you have a similar way to think about benefits?
- To separate the Features from Advantages?
- To define YOUR Benefits & make an informed decision?
I'd like to hear about it. Comment here or contact me via one of the methods below.
Note: I did not invent this idea. It was presented to me in the mid-90’s while I was attending UC Irvine. I’ve used the FAB Analysis method hundreds, probably thousands, of times since.
About The Author:
I have spent the better part of the last 16 years working in various aspects of the ECM space. I spent time at Kofax, Microsoft, FileNet, K2, and most recently Captaris (which was acquired by Open Text in Nov 2008). Prior to that I was a Unix VAR running my own company. Follow me on Twitter, check my blog, send email or find me on Facebook or LinkedIn.
** I am available for speaking engagements and consulting projects. My areas of emphasis are business development and alliance management at the Intersection of Enterprise Content Management and Social Media.
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