• Dr. Gary Witt

Features, Benefits & Satisfactions

By Dr. Gary Witt

The first rule of Marketing Psychology – and thus of successful marketing and sales – is “People do not want what you are selling.”

If you don’t understand this concept, then you are bound to try to sell them what they do not want – your product, service, idea, candidate, even yourself (yes, we all market ourselves every day!) And you are bound to fail, or lose a lot of sales you could have made.

When we try to sell our product, service, etc., our default focus naturally is to talk about the features of the product. That is your first mistake. Features are best at proving you can deliver on your promise of satisfactions, they come nearer the end of the pitch. The “sell features” approach forces buyers to try to figure out what benefits and then satisfactions they could get from these features. It is a weak “magnet” to grab a customer.

Others try to sell benefits. That’s better. Benefits are the tangible results of using (not buying) the product or service. This is easier for the buyer to evaluate because it is closer to what he really wants to buy. It is a “medium” magnet.

The best approach is to sell satisfactions. This is what buyers truly want to buy. Satisfactions are both logical and emotional, with logic predominant in the initial search and sort, while emotion is predominant in the final selection among the top two or three brand options. It is a “strong” magnet.


Here’s an example: Water on the kitchen floor by the refrigerator suggests you have an ice maker leak. You need to call a plumber. You look at websites for candidates to call. But what is it you really want to buy? The prime feature of the needed service is “ice maker repair.” The prime benefit of the service is that the ice maker is making ice again. Notice that neither one of these really has anything to do with the customer. The prime satisfaction of the service is that he can have a cold drink filled with ice. Now that is a direct, personal, important impact on the customer – and that is the true satisfaction he wants to buy. Everything else is just “process” to get to that satisfaction.

By reminding and focusing the buyer’s attention on the satisfactions he wants to buy, you immediately grab interest and bypass a lot of mental decision steps. You promise to sell him exactly what he wants. Then, and only then, do you bring up “features” to PROVE you can deliver on your promise of specific satisfactions. Satisfactions sell, features prove. So pitch your satisfactions.

How do you figure out the underlying psychological satisfactions buyers want? With a Buyer Motivation Analysis. Those Needs, Wants, Fears and Desires will guide you in designing all your marketing messages and product decisions.

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©2019 by Gary Witt.