THE POWER OF DESCRIPTION – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #89

101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas

IDEA 89:


Everyone in selling must know the concept of features and benefits, and that, to use and an old phrase; you sell the sizzle and not the sausages. People buy something because of what it does for them, or means to them; that is, they buy because of its benefits. As a result, sales messages should predominantly be benefit-led: you talk about the benefits, and use the features as factors that demonstrate how a benefit can be delivered. So far so good, yet prevailing practice is by no means perfect, and the world is full of sales people busily talking about features. Certainly I find that significant number of people attending courses on sales techniques do not really understand the difference between features and benefits.

Even when you clearly understand the difference, the way benefits are described is a key factor in making a successful sales pitch and obtaining agreement.


From a manufacturer of catering equipment …

Selling a range of cookers, grills, water heaters, and other items for hotels, restaurants, and various such establishments certainly involves a degree of technical detail, but let’s just concentrate on a couple of simple facts. Imagine too that a busy cafe is the intended customer.

One feature of a flat grill is its size. Say the model being sold has a cooking area of 800 square centimetres. Perhaps not many people can instantly imagine what that looks like. But if you say it can cook a dozen eggs simultaneously (because it has an 800 sq cm surface area), and tie this into the “rush at breakfast time”, everyone in the catering business will able to call a picture instantly to mind, and see the advantage.

Similarly, to sell a twin 8 pint water heaters, you would do best not to emphasize the 8 pint capacity, but to refer to its ability to dispense both tea and coffee at the same time.

Description like this, which are not only benefit –oriented, but also focused on the customer’s specific situation, are worth a great deal. They link to the customer’s experience, and prompt their imagination. I could probably give 99 more example of this kind of thing, and fill up the rest of the book with them, but that might not make for the most helpful of manuals.

In practice

  • Bland or inappropriate – lazy description, if you like- can dilute a good case to point where it will persuade no one.
  • Good, powerful descriptions, as described above, are, however a prerequisite of successful selling. This is something every sales person needs to work at to get right.

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