Getting clear on the real benefits of your product or service can be tricky if you’re too close to it. Sometimes, it can be hard to see the forest for the trees, and that could mean you miss an opportunity to close a deal. Creating a simple F.A.B. statement (which stands for Features, Attributes, Benefits) can help you ensure what you’re communicating to customers is on point. Here’s how:
Start by making a list of all the characteristics and specifications of your product or service. This is anything tangible that you can see, touch, smell or hear. In the case of a service, these could be the tools of your trade, or the packages you offer.
TIP: If you need to, pretend you’re a different product or service first. This might help you think more objectively about your answers, which will then translate into a clearer response when you do your own brand.
For example, if you’re selling a pen, the features might be colour, the type of nib, whether it’s a click-top or a lid, ballpoint or gel ink.
Now you’ve listed the features, you start to ask “so what?” for each of them, to drill down to the real benefits to your customer.
These are the things your features do for your customer. Sometimes they’re called the ‘advantages’. For every feature, list down the main reason your customer should care about that feature. Ask yourself “so what?” and remember that not every feature is going to be relevant to a customer. And knowing what’s relevant to them starts with knowing them.
For example, a gel ink might mean a smoother flow of ink… which means a smoother writing experience for the customer.
These are the ultimate “so-whats” for each feature from your customers’ perspective. Why is each attribute beneficial to them? What is in it for them? If you can drill these down to emotional benefits, you’re onto something. If you can make people feel something, you create deeper connections with them, and are a step closer to persuading them to buy.
TIP: Use the customers’ perspective when you’re writing these F.A.B. statements. If you use first person as if you are in your customers’ shoes, this will help cultivate empathy with them.
Geoffrey James is a sales expert who says six core emotions drive all buying decisions: greed, fear, altruism, envy, pride and shame. Tap into one of these emotions and you’ve got yourself a sale.
If we use our pen example one more time:
Gel ink (feature) that delivers a smoother writing experience (attribute) might ladder up to the emotional benefit of “beautiful writing your friends will envy” (envy), or “to get your creativity onto paper faster” (pride).
You won’t be communicating every single benefit every single time. You need to overlay this with all the other pieces of your strategic puzzle. Consider your business objectives and what you need to achieve. Think about your target audience and what is relevant to them. What about your brand mission and how these benefits link back to your purpose?
All together, these will help you work out your communication priorities. Consider the action you want your customer to take and which benefit will persuade them to take it. And with your suite of fabulous F.A.B. statements on hand, you’ll be ready to put them to work when next you brief your copywriter or social media manager.
So there you go – a DIY strategic exercise that can help take your communications up a notch.