You Can Show Me A Feature, But I’ll Need To See The Outcome

We used to be super focused on putting features in our marketing. Our family started in the school-based SAT and ACT prep markets, so we sold to high schools initially. I remember we would put together sell sheets that focused primarily on our software’s features. Here’s one of those sell sheets. I now cringe when I see it, but at the time I thought it was one of our best sales pieces.

We analyzed 56 skill areas tested by each test. We offered exhaustive reporting features and allowed schools to set up classes within our program. All of these features were requested by our customers. We’d built a product designed by our customers. It was impressive to say the least.

The problem was that we were simply conveying this as our primary sales message. And it was landing flat. Then everything changed after we started getting real results for our existing customers. We were then able to tell prospects that we could guarantee them the same outcomes if they followed our program. We started showing prospects that if they used our product they could raise their school’s SAT or ACT scores too. This was huge. These outcomes changed the lives of their students and their careers at these schools.

Notice that we even use the word “Solve” in our sell sheet title above. We knew the solution to their pain point was why we were in business and that providing them with a related outcome they desired was key to our success, but we missed that message here, because of our obsession with features. Features are important of course and should lead to outcomes. And desired outcomes lead to happy customers. Happy customers in turn bring more happy customers by virtue of the fact that you can share their experience with prospects and you can start stating with confidence that your product or service will deliver their desired outcome. So start leading with outcomes when you explain your offer and you’ll end with the outcome you want…more customers.

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