Thank you to all who attended the 2019 RPCN Entrepreneurs Wall of Fame Gala on April 24! We had a wonderful crowd on hand to honor a great field of award winners.
Congratulations to all our award winners!
Congratulations to Lee Drake, Consultant’s Consultant Award; Michele Liddle, Entrepreneur of the Year Award; Mark Assini, Community Champion Award; Laurie Enos, Dave Young Dedicated Service Award; Kayla Jenkins, Linda Halliburton Friend of RPCN Award; Steve DiPaolo, Steve Royal Lifetime Achievement Award; Kevin Beckford, Leadership Award; and Ruth Balkin, Special Recognition.
The Features Trap—What Sells Better, Features or Benefits?
There’s truth in “Sell the Sizzle, not the Steak,”—but no matter how enticing the sizzle, the “steak” must provide benefits for the customer. Too often, entrepreneurs promote the great features of their product but neglect the underlying customer benefits or value. Features are important, but benefits are the “gut” reasons customers buy. This sounds simple, but it’s easy to get hung up on features and lose sight of the value we provide. Honestly, sometimes, it’s hard to tell the difference between features and benefits.
Feature or Benefit? Features are details or characteristics of an offering. Benefits are the value a customer gains from using a service or product that has those features. For example:
Feature: A lamp lights up a room (This can sound like a benefit). Benefit: You can read a book at night.
Feature: You have a Ph.D. in energy-efficiency. Benefit: You help companies save 50% on energy costs.
Feature: You train people to start companies. Benefit: Clients start up faster and avoid costly mistakes.
Some tempting “Feature-Traps”
This is an easy trap to fall into, especially when we have an innovation that might disrupt an industry. Our blinding passion for our idea is so intense that we say “Everyone will love our features, and we’ll “blow the socks off the marketplace”. We love our features, but we must appeal to the needs of customers and show them (in simple language), how our product or service produces value.
“My customers will want to be the ‘first on their block’ to own the latest technology and features.” The huge successes of big companies like Apple add fuel to this passionate fire. But, most startups don’t have the prestige and marketing power of an Apple. We mere mortals have to grind it out just to get someone to listen and give our “newness” a try. When we get their attention, we must highlight the value that our features can produce.
“My product’s features are so new that there’s no competition”. Wrong: We always have competition!!! A major competition might be a target customer’s tendency to “do nothing”. This “status-quo”, “intellectual-inertia” competition is hard to overcome. It’s easier for them to do nothing and not buy our offering. We must convince them of the value of taking action.
Discover Customer Value
How can you avoid the feature traps, and focus on the value your customers receive? Here’s one way:
Features: List all the features of your product or service.
Benefits: Define the customer value for each feature (Make assumptions where necessary).
Test Assumptions: Interview prospects about their problems, and the value of solving them.
Adapt: Ensure your offering provides the value they seek.
Market & Sell: Get their attention with your “sizzle” features. Then sell them Customer Value.
Focus on Customer Benefits
Focus your Strategy, Marketing and Sales on the Value you produce for customers.
—Bob Lurz, “The Consultant’s Consultant”, coaches skilled people to launch and build successful consulting businesses. He “grows the economy, one consultant at a time”. Contact him at RFLurz@ConsultantsAccelerator.com.
Last week I spoke about Current Awareness. In Library terms, this means watching out for or actively looking for articles of interest to yourself, your clients, co-workers, etc. It helps to keep your name in front of prospects and clients.
For example, I found this today: KnowItAALL: Your Daily Connection to the News You Need, published by the American Association of Law Librarians. I’ve been a member of AALL since at least 1985.
Introduction: If you're like most people, you've probably clicked "I agree" on many online contracts without ever reading them. Soon you may be deemed to have agreed to a company's terms without even knowing it. A vote is occurring Tuesday that would make it easier for online businesses to dispense with that click and allow websites that you merely browse—anything from Amazon and AT&T to Yahoo and Zillow—to bind you to contract terms without your agreement or awareness.
Excerpt: All law firms, even solo practices, need to educate themselves on the best way to respond. Responding to RFPs can be time-consuming and expensive. Deciding whether to respond or pass requires some strategic thinking. It is important to have a formal response process that asks the right questions to evaluate whether an opportunity is worth pursuing.
This applies not only to law firms but consultants also. The website “Attorney at Work” has a gold mine of information. It’s so good, that I have subscribed to their daily newsletter. I’m not an attorney but work with them, so this may give me “stuff” to share with them.
Would you like to promote your business at RPCN meetings? You can do this by sponsoring an RPCN meeting. As a meeting sponsor, you will choose a Friday to bring donuts (or other morning goodies) for 30 people to the RPCN meeting of your choosing. RPCN will provide the coffee (included in your fee).
Benefits of being a Meeting Sponsor:
• The sponsor will get up to 3 minutes to talk about your business to the audience before the presentation starts at the RPCN meeting.
• Your logo will be on display at the refreshment table to acknowledge your sponsorship.
• Your logo will be displayed on the page of the event that you choose to sponsor. Your logo will have a link back to your website.
• With enough advance notice, we will also place your logo on the RPCN calendar ad sheet next to the date you chose. The RPCN calendar ad sheet is distributed to all attendees at each of our weekly meetings.
Click here to register at least 2 weeks prior to the date you want to sponsor.
At every RPCN meeting, and at our events and tradeshow booths, RPCN distributes the Program Ad sheets.
Ads are inexpensive and support RPCN. The cost for members to advertise is $20 for 2 months. For non-members, the cost is $40 for 2 months. The deadline to get your ad included in the July/August 2019 calendar ad sheet is June 21, 2019. Sign up for your ad here.
Not an RPCN member? You can join RPCN now to receive great benefits, including free admission to RPCN presentations, a listing in the RPCN Member Directory, and discounts to RPCN events. Click herefor more information on joining RPCN.
We want your news!
The RPCN newsletter welcomes news, success stories, tips, resources, events and other items that would be of broad interest to consultants. Submit a newsletter item to firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion.