It’s a feature. We think it’s a benefit because we know what we offer has value. It benefits from our experience and it’s designed to get someone to act on something. Yet our prospects and users have not discovered any of that yet.
You are all familiar with the definitions of features -– a product’s or service characteristics, which are you (read: company)-centered –- and benefits –- what your client, user, partner gets from using your product and engaging your service.
When you say that something is free, you associate that in your mind with a benefit. Why is free a feature instead? It is something you chose to give away, and which the prospect has no idea they need or want. As such, you designed it as the simplest, less time consuming, most canned thing you could do to get someone to sample your product and service.
This is not to take away from the value of what you offer. If you pause and think for a moment, how many times have you attended a free seminar that was designed to get you to buy something? In fact, it was probably designed for everyone in that room to buy something. And here’s the rub: it is by virtue of ease, the most universally applicable thing we could thing about.
But is it the most useful for your audience? For the prospect, user, and client, free is a gift, and as such it becomes a benefit only when it is used, learned, put into practice, and provides results. Yes, even the free books you may receive will not do you any good until you read them and put them into practice.
Free is designed to get people into the conversation, yet if the conversation is about your product and service and not about their problem and need, it remains a feature and never becomes a benefit. I will gladly try this and that, yet that doesn’t mean I will purchase your item or avail myself of your services.
Only when what is offered is an experience that truly speaks to your prospect and user’s needs and wants, you begin to convert free from feature to benefit. It’s interesting to note that in Italian free is gratis (from Lat. variation of gratiis, out of kindness, orig. ablative plural of gratia, which means favor).
So here’s my question to you. What can you do today to make a sampling of what you do go from free as feature to a benefit in your prospects’ minds?