What Are Features and Benefits, and What Are Afters?

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Features and benefits are the foundation of most sales training books and courses. But as soon as you say the word “benefit” your customer will think you’re making a sales pitch. And people hate being sold to.

So, instead of telling customers “You’ll gain this benefit by using our product or service”. Say “After I do the work you’ll get this or that result”. It’s a subtle difference in how you talk about your products and services, but it can make your marketing much more effective.

Explain the features and benefits of your product or service using AFTERs.
“You’re not making a sale; you’re making an agreement to help
the customer solve their problem.”

What is a feature?

A feature is “a distinctive attribute or aspect of something, a typical quality or an important part of something”.

  • A feature: Your new fitted kitchen features worktops made from x-material.

What is a benefit?

  • A benefit: The benefit of your new worktops being made from x-materiel is that it’s easy for you to keep your kitchen hygienic and looking like new.

What are Afters?

  • Afters: After I fit your new kitchen you’ll have more hygienic worktops and you’ll spend less time cleaning them. Best of all, your worktops will always look pristine because they’re resistant to staining liquids.

Afters are like reworded benefits

Afters are how the customer is better off AFTER I do the work. This is often all the customer cares about.

They don’t care how good a technician you are or how you do your job. They care about their AFTERs.

What is the customer left with after you’ve done your job, they’ve paid you, and you part company?

How do you talk about features and benefits without alienating customers?

Instead of using the word benefit, use the word after.

To prevent the customer feeling like they’ve been sold to, explain what they’ll have AFTER you’ve done your magic, AFTER the job is complete, AFTER they take the product home,

“You’re not making a sale; you’re making an agreement to help
the customer solve their problem.”

Andy Bounds

You can explain what AFTERs they get without boring them with the technicalities of what you do.

For instance, a website company doesn’t have to mention websites in their features and benefits explanation. They could say. “We increase your sales and decrease the amount you spend on printed marketing materials.” That statement doesn’t even mention the website the firm will build for you. It just talks about the real reason the business owner wanted a website in the first place, to increase sales and reduce costs.

Find out what they want and then give it to them on a plate.

The real trick is in discovering what your customers really want. If you’ve been in business for a while you might already know exactly what your customers want. If you’re starting a new business, you need to discover what your customers want ASAP. Many businesses fail not because their product is bad, but because their target market just doesn’t want what they’re selling.

You could

  • Ask your customers, or target market what they want. Or…
  • Do research and see what they’re actually buying.

What customers seek is not knowledge (about your business), but certainty (that you can deliver AFTERs).

Andy Bounds

A useful tip for finding what customers think

You need to understand how customers talk about their problems. Use Google to find websites in your own field. Then search those websites for comments and testimonials that have been written by customers like yours. Read those comments and testimonials. Pay attention to the way customers talk about their problems and the solutions they hope to find.

If you find a lot of testimonials saying, “the way our previous gardener parked his van was annoying”. On your own website you could say “we pride ourselves on being considerate, we don’t use radios while we work, and we don’t leave our vans blocking your neighbors, or you, in”.

Trust, testimonials, and Google reviews.

Trust is the bedrock of every piece of marketing you do. If your customers trust you, they’ll be much more willing to buy from you. A great way to build trust among your target audience is to set up a Google my Business page and then ask your customers to give you an honest review.

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