You need to use words that make sense to the customer
You may work in an established company or a startup but wherever you are, there will come a time when you need to make a case for a project, a product or a service.
The case may be a board paper, a powerpoint deck or a brochure – but it’s going to make the difference between getting your project approved or not, making a sale or not.
So it’s important. Very important. And most of us get it horribly wrong.
The Features, Advantages and Benefits or FAB model can help us get it right.
Nobody cares what you think is cool about your product or service
The problem is that most of us are far more interested in ourselves than we are in others. We also assume that others are more interested in us than they really are.
They don’t care about you. Not in an uncaring, they won’t help you if you’re comatose in the snow kind of way. Just in a they care much more about themselves and what they want kind of way.
For example, let’s say you’ve come up with an idea to create small promotional videos for customers.
You’ve got your kit – its a state of the art Canon EOS-1D SLR with 18 megapixels, 61 point AF, full HD… loads of cool features … and yada yada yada.
Some people will share your excitement about these features. Most will not.
They are mildly interested in how it compares to what they have now
Some people make the mistake of thinking that an advantage is an absolute – something that stands by itself.
For example – the advantage of the Canon EOS-1D is that you can use it to make a video.
Is that really an advantage?
An advantage is measurable. You can see how far it moves the needle compared to something else.
For example, one thing you rarely notice in films is depth of field. This is when the person or thing in the foreground of the shot is really clear and the background is out of focus.
It looks great – but you can’t get with most cheap video cameras. You could fork out a few $100k for expensive hollywood gear or you could get a EOS-1D for about $3k which lets you get that effect.
So, you can measure the cost advantage of an EOS-1D (for what you are trying to achieve) compared to a film camera.
The advantage to the customer is that instead of a poorly shot camcorder corporate video they can get a film quality one.
Only emotion endures
The poet Ezra Pound wrote that few poems still ring in my head. The ones that endured brought up feelings, and the feelings are what remain.
In the same way, a list of features and advantages doesn’t get someone to take action. They take action when they can imagine how good they’ll feel when they have your product or service – and you need to use the words that will evoke those feelings.
For example, when they can imagine their beautifully shot corporate video playing on screen during a presentation, or having photos from it printed at an extra large size hung on their walls for clients to see – then they can feel good about how professional it makes them look.
Connect the dots. Forwards and backwards
The Canon EOS-1D X page uses the features, advantages and benefits or FAB model faithfully in its copy.
Quoting them “A Canon 18.1 MP full frame CMOS sensor delivers stunning performance, producing exceptional low noise, high-resolution images even in the darkest conditions. The full frame sensor delivers optimum results from wide-angle lenses and gives you greater control over depth of field. Image resolution exceeds the quality demanded by leading photo agencies – making it ideal for extra large prints up to A2 size, even after cropping.”
- Feature = the 18.1 MP sensor
- Advantage = greater control over depth of field
- Benefit = ideal for large prints
For each feature we have an advantage which means a benefit to the customer and we can put all these points in a paragraphs and include them in our brochure.
Once we make the effort to work across the table from our point of view to the customer’s point of view, the paragraphs that make their way into a brochure fall out almost automatically.