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.F
Features, Advantages, and Benefits (FAB)
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).
- The inclusion of product features plays a vital role in influencing customer purchasing decisions (Ghenaiet, 2023). These features are easily noticeable and represent the physical attributes that become evident upon observing the product, such as its size and appearance.
- Features hold significant importance in the overall effectiveness and impact of a product as they differentiate it from competing offerings in the market (Ghenaiet, 2023). They help customers comprehend the advantages and benefits of the product. Since features are easily recognizable, there is no extensive need to create a mental picture or impression of the product.
- 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).
- An advantage is the factor that elevates a product above its competitors, highlighting its positive features and attributes (Ghenaiet, 2023). It represents a factual and descriptive portrayal of the product’s strengths, without necessarily indicating how it will impact the user’s life. For example, a large-sized product may be advantageous for a customer seeking an item that can fit a spacious area, but may not be ideal for those looking for a smaller product.
- The advantage of a product is a comprehensive account of its features, providing potential customers with a deeper understanding of what the product has to offer (Ghenaiet, 2023). Advantages highlight the circumstances and conditions that render a product superior or more favourable than its competitors, and serve as the starting point for the sales process – guiding prospects through their decision-making journey.
- 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 a product refers to the value it provides to customers, representing the primary reason why they would choose it over other alternatives (Ghenaiet, 2023). As your business progresses, it becomes essential to monitor customers and gain an understanding of their motivations for purchasing your product.
- While prospects may initially be attracted to a product based on its features and advantages, the benefits they derive from it become an additional incentive for them to continue using and repurchasing it (Ghenaiet, 2023). When crafting your FAB (Features, Advantages, Benefits) statement, the benefit should be the most appealing aspect to potential customers. It should be so compelling that it entices the potential customer to be willing to pay for the product.
- 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 behaviour 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
Table 2.5.1: FAB in Action
|HP Pavilion Computer
|250-GB hard drive
|Enough space to store music, pictures, documents, and more.
|Do more from playing video games to downloading all of your favourite music and still have space for your homework projects.
|4 all-inclusive nights with airfare for only $599 per person
|Don’t worry about how to budget for the cost of the vacation because everything is included in one low price.
|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.
“6.5. Buying Process Meets FAB” from The Power of Selling is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.