The other day I received an email from a company representative who was selling a "training management solution." I don’t believe I have a problem that matches that solution, but I decided to read the email anyway, since I am interested in effective writing. I was intrigued by the question asked in the subject of the email: "How Can We Benefit Syntax Training?" I wanted to know the answer.
Unfortunately, the answer to that stimulating question came in four bullet points.
How can our program benefit you? The program:
- Is easy and fast to implement
- Is affordable, pay monthly or annually
- Does not require a long-term commitment
- Focused on your day-to-day training challenges
So what is the benefit to me? Will the program file my email in efficient folders, so everything is at my fingertips? Will it help me complete my work faster, so I leave my office at 5 o’clock? Will it increase my profits and pay for a trip to Hawaii?
Those would be benefits. But the bullet points above are just features–things about the program. Only the last bullet point hints at benefiting me in any way.
I clicked on the company’s website and found actual benefits on the Key Benefits page, among them:
- Increase sales and help the team stay within budget requirements.
- Allow more time for staffers to focus on important tasks.
- Enhance interactions with students and track success of training.
Features and benefits often get confused in sales letters. We know a lot about the features of our products and services because, after all, they are ours. Identifying their benefits to others requires more thought and focus.
When my husband and I bought a minivan two years ago, the experienced salesman sold us on something even better than benefits–he sold us a vision. You can read about his successful sales strategy here.