WIIFM? Why Selling Benefits Not Features Increases Your Sales Revenues

February 26, 2015 -

The business world loves to use acronyms and one of the most important ones in marketing is WIIFM – What’s In It For Me?  Let’s take a look at what it means and how your sales revenues will increase from knowing how to apply it to your marketing.

Theodore Levitt, American economist and Harvard Business School professor famously said, “People don’t want to buy a quarter inch drill, they want to buy a quarter inch hole.”  Sell the hole, not the drill.

In other words, customers don’t care so much about the mechanical or technical features of a product or service.  They care about how it meets their need, solves their problem or improves their life.  Since most buying decisions are emotional, you want to paint a picture of how life will look and feel after investing in your product or service.

So, what exactly are benefits and how do you turn features into them? 

An easy way to determine the difference is to think of features as what something is and benefits as what something does.  Make a list of the features for your product or service and then ask yourself, “So what?”  For each feature, think about why your customer would care about it or what need they have that it fills.

For example:  Let’s look at some features of a new car and what the benefit would be.

Feature Benefit
Heated Seats Instant warmth on cold days to keep you comfortable
40 MPG Fill up less often and save money
Bluetooth phone interface Safely make phone calls without taking hands off the wheel or eyes off the road
Anti-lock brakes  Maintain control of your car to avoid an accident

You have benefits, now what?

Now that you have identified the benefits, the next step is to determine the best way to communicate them?  First, you need to define your target audience.

  • Who buys your products/services?
  • What solution does it provide them?
  • When do they buy?
  • Why do they need it right now?

Once you have defined your target audience, you can then determine which benefits will entice them to take action.  For instance, the features and benefits of a new car that appeal to a mom with 3 kids will be very different from those that grab the attention of a 25 year old single man.

How does this apply to direct mail?

AMG’s direct mail campaigns have one goal… to get the reader to buy your products and services right now!  Selling the direct benefits, rather than the features, is one of the key elements to driving up response rates and increasing your sales revenues.  People follow through on your “call to action” when they can see and feel themselves experiencing the benefits of your products and services.  It is the WIIFM message that compels them to take action and buy now.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating your direct mail piece to ensure that your reader get the WIIFM message loud and clear.

Use bulleted lists or short blocks of text to keep the benefits easy to scan
Add an image that visually represents someone enjoying the benefits you highlight
Craft a benefits focused headline that compels the reader to take action

Remember, even a great product or service with the most amazing features isn’t enough to convince someone to buy it.  Be sure to tell people how your product or service will benefit them, instead of what it does.

When you’re looking for a direct mail partner who can identify your top revenue producing prospects and communicate the benefits of your products and services effectively, you should work with Analytics, Marketing and Growth. 

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WIIFM? Why Selling Benefits Not Features Increases Your Sales Revenues | Blog