Selling Benefits? This Sales Guru Begs to Differ


Someone whose sales savvy I respect, recently turned me on to a video about selling benefits by Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter.

(Get it? Mark Hunter. Sales Hunter. Pretty clever, huh? Maybe I should start calling myself “Kelly Monaghan, the Travel Monaghan.” But I digress.)

Since I am kind of passionate about selling benefits, I gave it a look and found it pretty interesting, although maybe not for the reasons Mark intended.

Take a look.

Okay, Mark, you say you’re going to argue the proposition, so let me argue right back at you. (Please understand, I have great respect for Mark’s expertise. I used to be a sales trainer and consultant just like him. It’s just that I have a different take on the subject of selling benefits.)

I‘d argue that Mark is playing a semantic game here.

In other words, selling outcomes is selling benefits.

This goes back to a distinction I like to make when teaching the travel sales process. Where most people talk about features and benefits, I like to talk about

Features >> Functions >> Benefits

Here’s how it breaks down: The feature is the “thing.”

The function is what the “thing” does.

The benefit is the positive outcome (note that word) that the feature produces — for a specific prospect. In other words, one man’s benefit could be another man’s nightmare.

Maybe what Mark was getting at is the fact that a lot of salespeople, including travel agents, confuse the function with the benefit. And that’s a fair point. Far too many salespeople think that stating the function is providing a benefit.

selling benefits

“If you are selling a luxury cruise, create an image of your prospect couple finding themselves on a secluded beach.”

Selling benefits, not functions

Here’s one of several examples I use in Module Three of the Home-Based Travel Agent Success Course:

Feature: A day at leisure on an escorted tour.

Function: Provides a day when no activities are scheduled. You are on your own.

Possible benefits:

• Lets you get the benefit of an independent tour at a package tour price.
• Not tied down to someone else’s schedule.
• Private time for you and your spouse.
• Perfect opportunity to splurge on a 4-star restaurant or go shopping.
• You can visit attractions, museums, theater, or sporting events not on the regular tour.
• Lets you take a break and sleep late.
• Lets you and your spouse enjoy different activities without inconveniencing the other.

I say possible benefits because, as I explain elsewhere in that Module, benefits exist only in the eye (or mind) of the beholder. So Mark is playing a bit of a word game here. “Outcomes” and benefits are really the same thing.

But there is one thing about Mark’s presentation that is absolutely bang on: Encouraging your prospects to create pictures in their mind’s eye about what their ideal outcomes should be is a brilliant strategy for making sales happen.

If you are selling a luxury cruise, create an image of your prospect couple finding themselves on a secluded beach just a short taxi ride away from where their ship docks in some exotic Caribbean port. (Assuming, of course, that that is an outcome that would resonate with them.) Qualify your prospects well and this step in the sales process should be a slam dunk.

Related Posts

Understanding features, functions, and benefits

A simple method for presenting travel products to your clients

Selling Benefits? This Sales Guru Begs to Differ was last modified: October 22nd, 2015 by Kelly Monaghan