Sell the Outcome, Not the Benefits or Features

Sell the Outcome, Not the Benefits or Features

Dustin Lien
September 27, 2014

In college, it was drilled into my head pretty hard that when selling, you are to sell the benefits, not the features. I’ve found taking it a step further than that to be more successful, but we’ll cover that in a sec. First, it’s important to understand the difference between a benefit and a feature, and why my advertising professors taught that rule.

Let’s use an example and say you’re selling a basketball shoe that helps people jump higher, and you decided to market to high school boy basketball players.

The features of the shoe would be the advanced rubber with spring-like abilities, and the specifically-engineered ratio of rubber squares in the heal per square inch of the shoe…wake me up, I fell asleep, and I don’t want to buy your stupid shoe.

The benefits of the shoe would be the effects of the features, which would be that wearing the shoes makes you jump higher…that’s a little more exciting, I’d like to jump higher. I’ll consider buying your shoe.

Benefits are strong, but you know what’s stronger? The potential outcome.

The potential outcome is basically the benefit of the benefit. What life might look like after buying these shoes. Selling the outcome would be alluding to the fact that buying and wearing these shoes could get you into the NBA, because you’ll be able to jump higher. Wow! Where do I send my $99.99? I need these shoes!

Obviously you can’t make false claims, but that’s why I said to “allude” to it. Paint a blurry picture and let the customer’s brain fill in the gaps.

If you’re not sure how to come up with the outcome, just keep asking yourself “why?”.

Why would a high school boy basketball player buy these shoes?

Because they have awesome technology.

Why would he care about that awesome technology?

Because it makes him jump higher.

Why would he care about jumping higher?

Because he would be able to dunk.

Why would he want to dunk?

Because NBA players can dunk, so maybe he’ll make it into the NBA.


Create a lifestyle image in the heads of your customers and let their emotions and imaginations do the heavy lifting by looking beyond the features and benefits, and selling the outcome.