by Steven Tulman
ICM Consulting and Media Corp.
April 1, 2014
After going through the B-CHUBS Needs Discovery Stage that I introduced in my last article, you should be intimately familiar with your prospect’s toughest and most important challenges that they need help solving. Now it’s time to really “WOW” your prospect with your solution, its features, benefits, and the improvement it can bring to their business and life. When done right, this step can spearhead the sale closer towards the close, but when done wrong, it can render all of your efforts up to now completely useless and destroy any chance you ever had of closing the deal. This step is extremely easy to do right, but just as easy to get wrong if you’re not focusing on what’s really important to your prospect.
To help me, I like to use the simpleC.F.B.I. model, that I go into more detail about in my upcoming book, to help me stay on track and present my solution in a way that really speaks to my prospect and pulls on all the right strings. It stands for Challenges, Features, Benefits, and Improvements.
I often hear sales reps pitch their solutions by focusing on the features of their product or service without adequately explaining the benefits that the prospect stands to gain by implementing their solution. When they do go into some form of benefits exploration, they often stop short of the “real” benefits, and only express the superficial benefits. These reps don’t take the time to tie those benefits into the potential improvements the prospect might see for their business and personal life. It's these potential improvements that when explored correctly will "WOW" your prospect and help them make a positive buying decision regarding you and your solution.
The ability to tie in benefits to business and personal improvements is one of the most important skills that separates the ultra successful sales professionals from the average or underperforming ones. This is why I decided to add the category of Improvements to the standard Features and Benefits model.
Improvements are what the benefits really bring to the customer’s business and personal life. To address the potential improvements you could either tell them what they could be or you could ask them a question or two to get them to tell you what they think the improvements might be.
Before getting into the features, benefits, and improvements part of your presentation, you need to first start off by reiterating each of the core challenges that are important to your prospect and that they need to solve in the near future. You should have gotten this information directly form your prospect during the 3 stage of the 9 step process, the needs discovery phase. In case you missed it, here is that article: B-CHUBS: The 6 Questions to Ask When Performing a Needs Discovery: The 9 Step Sales Process Stage 3: The Intro Call & Needs Discovery
This is how I would use C.F.B.I when presenting a solution to a prospect:
C: Challenge 1
Rephrase one of their unique core challenges.
“When we met you told me that it’s important for you to generate more quality inbound leads for your business. You said that you are getting great traffic volumes but very few are turning into leads.”
By rephrasing the core challenges that your prospect expressed to you in the needs discovery stage, you are showing them that you understand their needs and are prepared to offer relevant solutions.
F: Feature 1
Present the first feature that addresses that challenge and how it will help solve your prospect’s problem.
“This Conversion Optimization Strategy that I developed for you will help convert more of your current traffic into leads. First we will add Call-to-Action piece to the homepage of your website.”
By describing the features to your prospect you are helping them realize how you intend to go about addressing their challenges and you further build credibility for your product or service.
B: Benefit 1
Explore the benefit your prospect will receive as a result of this feature.
“By adding the right Call-to-Action tools, such as promotions, to your existing website the people who click onto your site will be incentivize to submit their information or request a quotation from you.”
The benefit is a key part of presenting your solution because this is where your prospect begins to understand how by implementing your solution they will be solving their most pressing problems and opening up doors to new opportunities.
I: Improvement 1
Connect the benefit with the overall improvement that your prospect stands to gain for their business and their personal life.
“This will improve your business by bringing more qualified customers to your door. If you’re currently generating $50,000 a month from your online leads and you’re converting 1% of your website traffic into leads, then if we can increase that by a quarter of a percent to a 1.25% conversion rate (a really small increase) then you could potentially add another $12,500 a month in additional revenue from the inbound leads you generate through your website. You could use that additional revenue to further grow and develop your business by increasing your ad budget, increasing your research and development budget, growing your production or customer service team, taking additional vacations, etc…”
Or you could ask them:
“ What would the potential additional $12,500 a month in revenue mean to your business and personal life?”
When exploring the possible improvements to your prospect’s overall business and life, you are painting a picture in their mind of how much better things will be when they address their challenges using your solution. This is where you take your prospect through a journey exploring the new opportunities that can be created once your solution is implemented.
Repeat this process with other unique core challenges that your prospect needs to address and keep going until you’ve covered all of the core challenges that your solution focuses on.
Feel free to present multiple features per challenge, as long as you present a direct separate benefit and tie it into specific potential improvements before moving onto the next feature or challenge.
Get this process right and you will be seen as a valuable partner and an overall asset to your prospect and their organization. This part is what will differentiate you from so many of your competitors.
Master a deep understanding of your prospect’s unique core challenges, the features of your product or service that address those challenges, the benefits that are important to your prospect, and the potential improvements and doors that your solution can open for them and their business, and you master this critical part of the sales process.
Please share your views and experiences with tying together features, benefits, and improvements of the products and services that you sell or have sold in the past.
Links to previous posts in this series: