One of the keys to successful selling is understanding the difference among features, functions, and benefits and how they relate to needs. Let’s start off with some working definitions.
A need is something for which a prospect or customer has expressed a desire. Strictly speaking, if a prospect hasn’t told you that he needs a beachfront room, he has no need for a beachfront room.
A feature is any aspect, element, or part of a product. It is also the name given to that element. In the case of a travel product that means things like an “oceanfront room,” a “tour guide” on the motorcoach, an “optional excursion to the archaeological ruins,” “First Class” on the airline, and so forth.
A function is what the feature does. The function of “transfers” (a feature of a tour) is to provide transportation from the airport to the hotel and back.
A benefit is the positive outcome the prospect will enjoy from the feature. Every feature offers a benefit! Many features offer more than one benefit. It is the benefit that fulfills the prospect’s need and convinces the prospect that this is the right product.
That last point bears repeating, so let’s repeat it. It is the benefit that fulfills the prospect’s need and convinces the prospect that this is the right product.