The ABC of referral marketing – b is for benefits

by Sandra Hart on March 5, 2012 · 0 comments

Before you begin marketing any product or service you need to know some basics, what is your value proposition? How are you different from your competitors? What are the features of your product? And of the utmost importance in word of mouth marketing….what are the benefits.

The benefits of your product or service are what the client is left with after you are gone, it is the value that they have derived from having some interaction with your product or service. Clients and customers want a product to do a job or a service to meet a need not as an end in itself. As the famous Harvard Business School marketing professor Theodore Levitt put it, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!”

Have a look at your elevator pitch or your 60 seconds,  is it focusing on features or benefits?

A feature is what the product does and benefits tell people the value that the end user gets from using the product or service. It is this value which your fellow word of mouth marketers are interested in, it is this that they can easily talk about to others, always remember word of mouth marketing is about words coming out of other peoples mouths!!

If you are hearing features all the time you will be saying to yourself “so what?” Why is that important? If you are hearing benefits, it will be easy for you to see who the client is and how they benefit from using the product or service. Have a listen to the presentations at your next meeting and see if your fellow members are making it easy for you by talking about benefits.

Think about your own marketing, social media, website, advertising, PR, marketing literature, and particularly word of mouth, review it to see if you are talking about benefits. Benefits are easy to talk about in terms of a story, think about your recent clients, what benefits did they gain from meeting you?  Testimonials are great as when people are talking about their experience of a product or service, they are always talking about benefits.

At your next 1-2-1 take a quick benefit test – ask your fellow member to tell you what benefits they think your product/service provides to the end user, see if they can tell any stories about a client experience which shows the benefits of using your product or service, if not, relook at your messaging, tell more stories which focus on benefits and watch the referral results improve.

Sandra Hart
Sandra Hart runs BNI, Irelands leading business referral organisation, she trains and mentors members and leads a team who enable local business people to find new clients and generate new business. She is an expert on the topics of networking, word of mouth marketing and referrals.

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