What Are You Selling?

When launching a new business venture and developing a marketing plan and strategy, entrepreneurs often focus solely on their product and/or service.

But it’s also important to ask yourself what you are actually selling to your prospective customer. What do your customers seek or want from a business?

We have all seen advertising that seems to focus on the features of the product, for example it is faster, less expensive, slower, better, newer, older, it has super deluxe features that are new and improved.  Is this what your customers seek?

Take a look at the automotive industry. You’ll often hear phrases such as: “Our cars have heated seats, funky colours, more storage, etc.”  These again are features of the product.  Looking at it from a customer’s point of view (the only point of view that we need to understand as marketers), these seem interesting.  But what are customers really seeking?


This may seem obvious, but as marketers, many businesses drop the ball on this very important element of marketing.  Many businesses and salespersons sell us on the features.  But as customers, we seek benefits and solutions.

As marketers, we need to look at a “FAB” analysis of our marketing/sales pitch where:

  • F is for features
  • A is for the advantages to our customers of that specific feature
  • B is the benefit that the feature and advantage gives our customer.

This is easier said than done.

Using the automotive example, let’s look at the airbag. It is a Feature, true enough; the Advantage is that it will deploy when required with no input from the driver.  So what is the Benefit?  The Benefit is Safety. The driver will in most cases walk away unhurt from the accident.

Similarly, if the car in this example has heated seats as an option, the Feature is the heated seats, the Advantage is you don’t have to sit on a cold seat, the Benefit is comfort, less fatigue when driving long distances.  This is what we would want to hear from an automotive salesperson.

Next time you are out shopping or watching TV advertisements or reading advertising copy, look at what they are attempting to sell you.  In many cases you will see the Features front and centre.  The great marketers will sell you on the Benefits or Solutions.  The great marketers have more sales as a result and this is what all businesses attempt to accomplish.

One of the goals of the Halton Region Small Business Centre is to empower small and medium-sized enterprises and give you the tools to achieve success. For more information about our resources and services, and how we can help, contact us at 1-866-442-5866, www.haltonsmallbusiness.ca, smallbusiness@halton.ca or visit us at 1151 Bronte Road, Oakville.  Follow us on Twitter for useful tips and information.

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