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Copywriter Blogger: Selling Takes Tangible and Intangible Benefits

When writing content and copy for clients, writers focus on features and benefits. It makes sense. Ideally the client’s product has a feature that separates it from the fold.

Each feature your product has offers benefits for the consumer. Those benefits are what the consumer ultimately buys.

The benefit most highly sought after is a solution to a problem. If you have the solution, a sale is possible.

That seems pretty straightforward, cut and dried. But anyone in sales knows that it’s really not that easy.

A simple example to use is a photocopier. It’s becoming harder and harder to find a person in the world who has not seen and used a copier. What was once a large, loud, cumbersome machine that only printed grainy, black and white images is now available as a machine weighing less than 3 pounds. You can carry it in the same bag as your laptop. And it produces crisp color images on demand.

If a prospect wants a copier, there are MANY to choose from. A quick internet search for copiers revealed articles for the 5 best brands, the 10 best brands, even the 20 best brands. So a solution to the problem of finding a copier is easy.

Why should they choose the one you sell?

The immediate answer is tangible benefits. If you’ve listened to the customer (and you better have), you’ll know what they need. Speed. Color, Paper Sizes, etc.

Maybe you’ll have that extra feature that offers amazing benefits to the buyer. Your machine has a 5th or 6th drawer. Your portable copier’s battery lasts longer than any other on the market. Whatever the case may be, you’re hoping it will tip the scale.

It doesn’t.

Studying in a B2B professional development course this week, the instructor clearly stated tangible benefits would be most important to a B2B buyer. I took him at his word. But researching this article, reading findings from Inc. and Forbes, they didn’t seem to agree.

There’s been pacing. Sitting down to write. Washing dishes. Sitting down to write. A trip to the mailbox followed by sitting down to write. Until I think I’ve got it figured out.

The tangibles get clients in the door. If we didn’t sell photocopiers at all, we wouldn’t be able to solve that problem. In all likelihood, the buyer will come into your store, website, or call center with existing knowledge.

The age of the internet has changed that for buyers and sellers. The buyer will have read content that moved them to the brink of buying. He will know the features and benefits of the product before moving down the funnel toward purchasing.

Tangibles like price and value matter to the prospect. But they are not enough to push him over the brink.

The portable printer I looked at online was cute and sounded fun (intangibles?), but it was a brand I’d never heard of before. Like and trust are two intangibles the printer didn’t have. It’s not totally out of the picture, but I would check for comparables from brands I did know and trust first. So will your prospect.

Another intangible that will come into play is the confidence the company has in the product.

Have you ever been advised by a salesperson “not to buy” that one? It happens more often than you might think. The problem is do you “like and trust” the salesperson? What is their motive? Are they just trying to upsell you? Offer a bait and switch?

If you like and trust the person, you might ask, “Why not that one?” An honest answer could go a long way in increasing your like and trust.

Intangibles like branding, trust, and customer service cannot be denied. For 20 years, my father bought a new car every other year from the same salesman at the same dealership. He liked and trusted the man and the products he sold.

Customer satisfaction is an intangible. Personalized service is an intangible. More than once the salesman called my dad to say there was something he should look at on the lot. It matters.

Before my uncle died, he bought a different make of truck than he ever had before. When I asked him about it, he said, “Does it matter anymore? The guy at the new place treated me better.”

Tangibles matter. You’ve got to have the product that offers the solution.

Your prospect may have an old model or another product that doesn’t do what they want or need it to do. Reading product descriptions and content about your product's features and benefits will get them in the door.

The next part is up to you. Will you offer the intangible benefits that will turn the prospect into a buyer?

Offer the right product with the right service, and you might have a customer for life.

Synthia Dove is a freelance copywriter and content marketer with immense experience in the education/training field. Teaching students, children and adults, is practice in sales, persuasion, and buy-in every day. Let her know if you enjoyed this

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