Bye-bye features and benefits; hello story – YOUR story.

One of the most frequent questions people in sales ask me is:

“What should I say to someone about my product?” And…

“What I do say gets almost no response. They mostly look away or glaze over and that’s that. Should I just talk to more people?”

Everyone knows something is wrong, but no one knows what.


I asked a group of network marketers on last Friday’s call to describe the things they think they should do to “pitch” or make their product presentation to a prospective customer. Here is the first thing one offered:

Tell them the features and benefits.

There were voices of agreement, and then they wailed, “Even when we do that people just glaze over. People don’t relate to what I say.”

Typically people are taught to tell others all about the so-callled features and benefits (f & b) of their products. Basically this goes:

Product X is (the best) this or that, it has the most scientific this or that, it’s the most/least this or that (the features) AND it helps you save/do/look/feel like this or that (benefits). You get the idea.

More and more people are finding that this approach falls on deaf ears. What is wrong here?

One idea: Since EVERYONE is doing that, maybe regular people just don’t believe that stuff anymore. So they tune out.

How about we modify this f & b marketing approach and turn it into a story instead?

Let’s compare these.

1. Here’s an example of a traditional f & b spiel from someone marketing a nutritional product:

“Many people realize that many factors can weaken our body’s immune system, thus increasing the risk of many kinds of sickness and disease. Our product assists in raising the bodies’ glutathione levels, and although you probably haven’t heard of glutathione, high glutathione levels in the body have been proven to be a factor in maintainng good health, and in promoting a strond and healthy immune system…”

Read that out loud and see how you react.

2. Now let’s turn the f & b’s into a story – a story about what the speaker experienced with the product. So instead of preaching about the product’s attributes, we tell an authentic story, with no technobabble, about how the product affected us or why we chose it.

STORY version:

Product X is for people who are so tired they fall asleep at work and when they get home all they can do is crash on the couch, like what happened to me.

I tried different vitamins but nothing seemed to make a difference.

Then I tried this product and after a couple of weeks I was able to stay awake at work, and when I got home, I had enough energy to play basketball with my kids and even jump on the trampoline with them. It’s been 6 weeks now, and the kids love it.

Do you know anyone who might like to know about a product like that?

Read this out loud and see how you react.

Which person would you like to hear more from?

Then decide how YOU want to approach someone else. Story approach or f & b?

Will your story touch everyone? Hmm. But will you at least connect with someone who identifies with your story or who knows someone who does?

How long will you keep losing the attention of people by giving the usual f & b spiel?

Two ways to learn how to tell your story right now – highly recommended by the owner of this blog

Learn to tell your story so you can build a customer base for your business – the book.
“If My Product’s So Great, How Come I Can’t Sell It?”

Learn to tell your story so you can build a customer base for your business – the 3 day phone class.
2.5 hours each day FRI-SAT-SUN. July 29-31. Info here. 7 Active spots. Auditors OK.

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About the author

Kim Klaver

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