Sell the Benefits, Not the Features

It seems obvious, but most start-ups fail to do this.
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So what’s the No. 1 marketing tip your start-up needs to know? Well, it is a tip that focuses on how to sell your start-up product or service to customers (or investors!). And, it’s actually quite simple. Sell the benefits, not the features. This may sound obvious, but in reality, most start-ups fail to do this.

Let’s take a look at a simple example to illustrate the difference.


How most start-ups sell their product or service

How most startups sell their product or service


How start-ups should sell their product or service

How startups should sell their product or service


If you were buying a hammer, which would you buy? Why would you buy it?

Do you really know if those features in Hammer 2.0 will make your life better? Maybe the rubber will be grippier and easier to hold. The polished head looks cool, does it make your life better? Does the curve claw type make it easy to pull stuck nails?

Don’t describe what it is. Describe what you can do with it.

In the second example, look at how clear the benefits of this hammer are stated. Your construction job will be a lot easier with a “70 percent shock reduction” for a repeated-use job. And you don’t have to worry about losing it, the bright yellow color will make it easy to spot. And if any nails get stuck, the rip claws will make it easy to remove them.


Listerine does a great job of describing its benefits

When you’re comparing products on a shelf, do you go with the one with 6 clear benefits? Or the one that doesn’t list any at all?

6 Benefits in 1


Apple shows the benefits of an iPhone

In the ad below, there is no mention of the phone’s features such as a camera, video, auto-focus, crop, apps, email, etc. Apple just shows the benefits of those features in action.


Are you selling features or benefits?

So how are you selling your start-up product or service?

Startups are so intimate with their solution they forget this fact: 98 percent of people are consumers, not creators. They don’t want to think. So think for them. Tell them why they will benefit or they will find a competitor that does.

Are you telling your customers about an endless list of so-called amazing features?

Or are you listing a dozen benefits that can truly make your customers lives better?

Put another way: Conversion rate = Desire – Friction

You’re probably already working on lots of ways to minimize friction — quicker checkout, easier signup, free trials, etc. But are you maximizing your customers’ desire of your product? That’s going to drive way more conversions than just making it easier to use your product. Maximize the number of customers that use your product by maximizing their desire to want it.

Do you have great message regarding the benefits of your startup product or service? Leave a comment to share with others.

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