“Sell the benefits not the features!”…..but are you REALLY making the emotional connection?

Selling features-advantages-benefits has been around since Noah came off The Ark. There can’t be a B2B sales exec around who has not been exposed to some sort of FAB training. But couching the benefit in a way that truly and uniquely connects to the customer’s emotional reality is a skill that few have mastered. One of the many reasons for this sub-optimal mastery relates to the difference in making this sort of connection when you are selling to an end user of the given product or service versus an intermediary who in turn on-sells or recommends to the end consumer.

In short, the translation of a largely product/service oriented benefit to a uniquely tailored customer emotional connection is typically far easier when selling to the end user. Obviously the end user is going to directly consume or own the product/service. This translation then must connect to the basic human need for that product/service at the emotional level, eg the customer wants to look good, feel good, be happy, do the things they really want to do. Any other human motivations, eg save money, be healthy, attract accolades of peers or superiors , etc are just pathways to the most utter of human endeavours. The skill is in asking the right questions the right way to invite the customer to speak freely about their most fundamental emotional drivers for considering this product/service. Easier said than done. This is a conversation based on trust.

But this emotional connection translation for the intermediary customer is not so easy. Consider selling medicines to the chemist who then on-sells them to the end user. The most fundamental emotional motivators for the chemist might look more like the “pathways” exemplified above in the end user scenario, eg save money, make money, be a best practice exemplar in my field of expertise. Same skills required as above. But in this scenario there is an additional layer of skill required. It is to think deeply about the likely less-than-obvious deep fundamentals that are going to make the customer openly articulate the emotional disclosure and then connection with the sales exec.