No matter how the buying process evolves, customers continue to make purchase decisions driven by emotions. You learned how motivating trust and fear are for people who are making B2B buying decisions. Comfort, vanity, convenience, pleasure, desire to succeed, security, prevention of loss, and need to belong are all emotions that motivate purchases. A company may move its headquarters to a better part of town to provide better security for its employees; maybe a prominent figure in the community donates a large sum of money to your college motivated by the desire to give back; or maybe a company puts in a gym so that they are perceived as a healthy place to work. The same types of motivations apply to B2C purchases: a person purchases makeup in the hopes of looking as beautiful as the model in the ads, someone else buys a sports car in the hopes of turning heads, or a student buys a microwave for the convenience of having food when they want it.
Emotions are the driving force in so many B2C and B2B purchases that you might not even realize it. So how do you create the same type of emotional appeal with your customers? The answer is simple: FAB-Features, Advantages, & Benefits. Consider this information that was on the home page of Amazon recently:
Meet the all-new Kindle, now with a built-in adjustable front light so you can read indoors and outdoors and at more times of day. Purpose-built for reading, Kindle features a glare-free touchscreen display that reads like real paper, even in direct sunlight (Amazon, 2020).
Amazon truly understands how to use FAB, a selling technique that focuses on Features, Advantages, and Benefits, to sell its Kindle electronic reader. FAB is more than a way of selling; it’s a way of thinking like your customers. Using the Kindle as an example, here are the details about how to use the FAB approach for effective selling.
- A feature is a “physical characteristic” of the product (Vechten, 2020). In the Kindle example above, the feature is the adjustable light or glare free screen.
- A product advantage is the “performance characteristic” of the product, or what the feature does (Vechten, 2020). For the Kindle, the advantages of the adjustable light is that you can read in different settings –night or day; inside or outside—with or without your sunglasses.
- The benefit is what the features and advantages will bring to the buyer. Benefits connect the facts of product with a solution to the buyer (Clark, 2012). The benefit of the Kindle is the fact that you can read it anywhere and anytime.
Amazon skillfully reinforces the benefit of portability by showing someone reading on a beach or a bus. Why does FAB work? Because customers want to know what a product or service will do for them—not just what it’s made of. B2C and B2B customers seek information before making a buying decision but are also driven by emotions. FAB helps you appeal to a customer’s rational and emotional buying behavior by providing the most compelling features and factual information and then showing how the features provide an advantage that delivers a benefit. This is how salespeople help customers establish an emotional connection with a product.
You probably use FAB sometimes without even realizing it. “My new Lucky Brand jeans have a dirty wash, fit great, and make me look taller. The best part is they were on sale for only $89.00.” The features are the dirty wash and the fact that they were on sale for $89.00; the advantage is that they fit well (no easy feat when it comes to jeans); the benefit is that they make you feel like you look tall and, as a result, make you feel good when you wear them. Your statement is much more powerful when you frame it with FAB than if you simply say, “I got some new jeans today for $89.00.”
If you want to be able to use FAB in conversation, simply think in terms of the following (Vechten, 2010):
- Feature: what the product has
- Advantage: what the features do
- Benefit: what the features mean
|HP Pavilion Computer
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$599 per person
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|Enjoy a spring break you will never forget on a beach in the Caribbean.
|2010 Honda Insight
|40 mpg highway/43 mpg city
|Lower your gas prices with a fuel-efficient Insight.
|Be kind to the environment and travel in comfort for less with an Insight.
Selling features can work for a few businesses and product lines but identifying and highlighting how a product or service can improve the life of a customer is often a much more powerful strategy—think of your customer first in terms of “What’s in it for me” and you will be soon focusing on benefits (Shewan, 2020).