How Do I Demonstrate Benefits?

I have written about benefits before.  They are important because you sell benefits, not products, services or causes.  Through your offer you demonstrate your offer’s benefits.  The problem is many people are not clear about their offer’s benefits.  How do you demonstrate benefits?

Identify Benefits

One big advantage to identifying benefits is it goes some way to proving them.  Digging deep into the benefits of a particular offer is likely to result in something that rings true.

The circuit questionnaire suggest using the words “which means that” to dig deeper into your benefits.  Here is my attempt from some time ago:

A web presence that works for your organisation

Which means that:

Your organisation will be more effective at getting its message across

Which means that:

It will raise more funds, increase membership, build partnerships

Which means that:

New opportunities will open up for it through multiple feedback options

Which means that:

Its understanding of its own purpose will deepen

When I wrote this, my offer emphasised assisting clients with developing their web presence.  My current offer focuses on local marketing, integrating in-person and online marketing approaches.

These days I would start with local marketing instead of web presence.  I suspect, after the first two or so iterations, I would find much the same benefits.

On first reading, more funds, members and partners might seem the most attractive line.  Indeed, it is a benefit I might feature on a website.  Potential clients may be seeking one or more of these and seeing them listed as a benefit might encourage them to read on.

In contrast, the last line offering a deeper understanding of their own purpose might lack any kind of draw in the cold light of a monitor screen.

However, during a marketing conversation, it could be compelling.  If the client is thinking through their own marketing approach, and realises they don’t really understand their own purpose, such a benefit might seem beneficial.

So, take note this approach can result in a range of answers to the question, what are your benefits?  These answers may all be helpful if deployed at the right time or in the right place.  (If you don’t know the right time or place, you’re in great company.  The only way I know is trial and error, occasionally assisted by split testing – a massive and important topic.)

Look at it this way: I could show someone a few techniques that might help them attract more members.  All they would need to do is apply them and the chances are they would work.  However, if I can help them understand their purpose, deepen their understanding, perhaps they would find their own methods for increasing membership.  They would no longer rely on me to suggest approaches.

Many businesses sell products but market a lifestyle:

“When you buy our beer, you’re supporting people who take great pride in crafting beers using traditional methods.  Furthermore, they work collaboratively, according to co-operative principles so that many people work together to bring a whole way of life to your table.”

I’m not claiming this copy is brilliant but note, what is objectively a bottle of beer can be sold as a work of art or a way of life!

Demonstrate Benefits

If you’re selling beer, your customer gets a bottle of beer.  So long as it tastes good, the customer is happy and may come back for more. The offer is cheap enough to allow the customer to risk not liking it.  If they find a dead spider in the bottle, they may complain but in general the beer proves itself.  If they don’t like it they’re more likely to try another type and unlikely to complain.

As the customer invests more money or time in the offer, they are more likely to seek proof your offer can actually deliver the promised benefits.

If the offer is a service delivered in different ways to each client, it can be difficult to show how the benefits can be delivered.  The vendor may be confident their approach is effective but how do they convey this confidence to their customer?

There are several options and they all depend on the offer being sound in the first place.  I’ll cover these in future posts but today I’ll show how it works.

The vendor needs a specific approach, a formula if you like, which can be applied to any problem to produce the desired approach.  This way the vendor can show how their approach can solve the customer’s problem.

I use the circuit questionnaire to help the client uncover the deeper dynamic of their offers, use the information to design a marketing strategy and then we may work together to deliver the strategy, making adjustments as we go.

You will note this explanation moves from benefits to features.  Benefits sell but features prove it is possible to achieve the benefits.  The discerning customer will seek the features so they can assess whether the promised benefits are credible.  This is not simply listing features but showing how the features work together to deliver the benefits.

How do you prove your offer results in the benefits you claim for it?

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About the Author

I've been a community development worker since the early 1980s in Tyneside, Teesside and South Yorkshire. I've also worked nationally for the Methodist Church for eight years supporting community projects through the church's grants programme. These days I am developing an online community development practice combining non-directive consultancy, strategic management, participatory methods and development work online and offline. If you're interested contact me for a free consultation.

Leave a Reply 4 comments

Mark Woodhead - April 4, 2016 Reply

It seems to me that there are some interesting parallels between demonstrating benefits and demonstrating outcomes and impacts. Not quite the same, but it might be instructive to compare the two. I have been reading a piece by Rowan Boase about telling your impact story, with main points such as ‘know your audience’ (I might change that to ‘audiences’), ‘set the scene’, ‘keep it short’, etc. This piece can be found on the Know how non profit website (part of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations).

Chris - April 4, 2016 Reply

Thanks Mark, there probably is a close parallel between outputs and features; outcomes and benefits. It is easy to focus solely on features or outputs; usually these are not terribly interesting. You might offer support to several hundred job seekers a year but the interest is in how their lives hav e changed as a result of your intervention. Generally audience is singular because it is usually more effective to address one at a time. The article you mention can be found at: . It’s a helpful summary.

The Difference Between Outputs and Outcomes Features and Benefits - Community Web Consultancy - April 8, 2016 Reply

[…] to a comment concerning outputs and outcomes features and benefits.  In Monday’s post, How Do I Demonstrate Benefits? Mark Woodhead […]

Using the Yes No Matrix - Community Web Consultancy - April 11, 2016 Reply

[…] time I asked how do you prove the benefits you claim for your offer can be delivered?  Assuming your approach is effective, the yes no matrix can help you anticipate objections and […]

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