ACHRNEWS

Murphy's Law: FB, F&B, Features/Benefits

December 14, 2009
Mike Murphy

FB is all the rage. If you have any experience with social networking, you already know FaceBook is the place to be. It’s where you go to find old girlfriends or boyfriends (really old, if you’re my age), and guys that ran over you at the six-yard line.

However, Food and Beverage was my first familiarity with the F and the B, heretofore known as F&B on the P&L each month for two years at the Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburger’s joint that I worked at on Grand Avenue in the Junction - giving a shout out to anybody in G.J. that remembers The Rose on the far east side; a lot of good times were had in that Western Slope honky-tonk. And, by the way, I looked really good in a blue and white striped beanie cap and matching shirt, the uniform of the day in the early 1980s at the little red-headed girl’s dad’s place.

Which brings us to the third F/B - features and benefits.

It does not matter what line of work you may have come from, from where you might have gained your experience, but it is a virtual guarantee that somebody in your organization cares about the difference between features and benefits. If they didn’t, you probably wouldn’t be bringing down a paycheck. If you are fortunate enough you may be one of the people spelling out the F/B proposition for your customers.

Having written a few pieces of sales collateral in a past life, the gauntlet was once laid before me by an old white-haired guy who asked “So what?”

Huh? What do you mean ‘so what’?

“Why is anyone supposed to care about the way you build your product, or the high limit pressure switch, or the automatic shut-off for vent obstruction, or the flame sensor, or the CO detector, or the color you paint it, or the way you install it better than anyone else, or the number of screws in the panel, or the guarantee of quality, or the refrigerant you use, or the humidity control, or the thermostat control, or the fresh air ventilation, or the hinged service access door, or the coil coating, or the coil configuration, or the coil fin spacing, or the coil thickness, or the condensing coil guard, or the glycol solution, or the SEER, or the AFUE, or the EER, or the HSPF, or the 10-year parts and labor warranty, or the PEX pipe, or the TXV, or any one of 50 acronyms that most customers don’t really understand?”

Because, ours is better.

“Why? Because you say so?”

“Your customers are asking themselves one simple question: ‘What’s in it for me?’ WIIFM. You’re just talking about features of the product, and everybody can talk that game - most of the features are really similar. You won’t be different until you can tell the customer what all those things can do for them. Talk benefits.”

Oh.

How do I do that?

“Safety. Peace of mind. Comfort. Money.”

So, how do you make the features turn into benefits?

“Anything that has to do with equipment protection provides safety.”

“Anything regarding construction reliability provides peace of mind.”

“Anything that affects the indoor living space provides comfort.”

“Anything concerning energy efficiency is going to save money. Anything concerning faster service is going to save money. Anything concerning warranty is going to save money.”

But, you didn’t say anything about green. These days, everybody wants to know if we offer green products.

“Everybody has something green to offer. Green is safe for the planet, reliable, comfortable, and it usually saves money.”

Hey, old white haired guy, you seem to know an awful lot about this F/B stuff. What makes you so smart?

“I’m not that smart, I’ve just been around the dance floor a few times.”

Wanna stop over to The Rose and check out some of the two-steppers?

“Son, don’t get ahead of yourself.”

Murphy’s Law: One day at a time is faster than you think.

Publication date: 12/14/2009