Sell Your Benefits, Teach Your Features

If you have ever baked anything you know that you wouldn’t want to eat the raw ingredients by themselves. I absolutely love cinnamon buns, cinnamon sticks, cinnamon pies… In fact, I can be coerced into doing almost anything if I’m promised something made with cinnamon. But you can’t eat cinnamon by itself. You have to bake it into something before it is appealing. In the same way, you can’t sell a product based on the features. You have to bake your features into benefits.

Why talk about benefits instead of features?

If you are selling a product, especially a software product or something that is complicated and has lots of features, it is extremely tempting to start listing all the features you have. You spent a great deal of time and effort building those features and you want people to know what you’ve got. The problem is a gigantic list of features is overwhelming.

When you go into a bakery you don’t get presented with a huge list of all the ingredients they used to make your cinnamon buns. Instead you see pictures of happy people enjoying the bliss of eating the buns. So rather than iterating over every single feature you have, focus on what your customer will enjoy about using your product.

How to bake features into benefits

This may sound like a good idea, and you may intellectually agree that promoting your product with emotion and benefits is better than listing features, but how do you do it? Here are few examples of the before and after for Cart66, our e-commerce software product.


  • Your own secure subdomain for your checkout page
  • SSL certificate provided
  • PCI compliance covered
  • Customer data secure on your own slice of our secure cloud server

Benefit: You can finally relax about WordPress e-commerce


  • Support for over 50 payment gateways
  • Built-in support for recurring billing
  • Built-in membership management

Benefit: Save time. Stop searching for all the extra add-ons you might need – everything you need is included.


  • Amazon S3 included
  • Mandrill mail service included
  • SSL included
  • Secure vault for storing customer data included

Benefit: Save money. You don’t have to buy extra services – it’s all included.


  • Support for over 50 payment gateways

Benefit: Freedom to use any payment gateway you want and even switch payment gateways at any time.

This example hopefully demonstrates how easy it is to glaze over and get lost in the dry list of features in contrast to how nice it is to relax, save time and money, and enjoy freedom. This is especially the case if these benefits differentiate you from your competitors.

Sell benefits, Teach features

Sell your products by letting people know WHY they will benefit from what you are offering not by bombarding them with lists of WHAT they are getting. Once they become your customers, then they will be in the mindset to learn the details of how everything works. The best time to teach your customers how the features work is when they are actually trying to use the features, not when they are deciding whether or not they want your product. Features are the ingredients, benefits are the happy feelings you get eating cinnamon buns.