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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

How to Sell the Benefits, not the Features, of Your Camp

You've probably heard the phrase, "Sell the sizzle, not the Steak." It's a sales and marketing phrase that simply means you should promote the benefits of your camp program, not its features, because people buy benefits more than features.

When you demonstrate for prospects the benefits people get by signing up at your camp, you could see a nice enrollment spike.

Why?

Because identifying the benefits of your camp for prospects answers the question every prospect asks: "What's in it for me?"

But here's the problem. Identifying the difference(s) between features and benefits can be hard. Many marketers struggle with it. There's a few tricks you can use to find the difference.

Think of the features of your camp as factual statements about it. For example, if you offer horseback riding, beach activities, or sports and games, these are features of your camp. So is your returning staff.

But just telling people about your features won't necessarily induce them to sign up. You gotta take it one step further and translate those features into benefits for your customers and prospects. They're not gonna connect the dots themselves, so you've gotta do it for them.

How do you find the benefits of your offer? Well, remember, you're trying to answer the question every prospect asks before they choose a camp: "What's in it for me?"

So here's what you do.

Don't even use the word "benefits" when trying to figure out what your benefits are. Use the word "results" instead.

For the purposes of your camp's marketing message, "benefits" and "results" are exactly the same. So you simply need to identify the "results" people get from attending your camp, then promote those results in your marketing.

You can do that EASILY with this trick:

  • State a feature of your camp. For example: "We offer swimming lessons at Camp XYZ."
  • Follow up that statement with these three simple words: "...and that means..."
  • Then explain the results a kid will get from the swimming lessons using the words "and that means..."

Here it is all together:

"We offer swimming lessons at Camp XYZ, and that means your child will gain lifelong water safety skills."

Presto!

Just by saying, "and that means," then stating the outcome (or result) of the feature, the features automatically get translated into benefits every time.

Here's another example.

One of the places I buy surfboards for my camp advertises like this:

"Our soft-foam surfboards are perfect for kids who want to learn to surf."

Well, they probably don't even know it, but they're selling features, not benefits. The feature is the surfboard itself.

But if they'd take it one step further and translate the results people get from using soft foam surfboards, they'd probably sell a lot more of them.

Actually there's many benefits (i.e., results) kids get from using soft-foam surfboards. But mostly these types of surfboards provide a safe and easy learning experience compared to traditional wood or fiberglass boards.

So here's what we tell parents. We don't just say, "Come to Aloha Beach Camp and we'll teach your child to surf on soft foam surfboards."

We say, "Come to Aloha Beach Camp and your child will learn to surf on soft foam surfboards. And that means they'll have a safer learning experience and pick up the sport faster than if they learned on harder fiberglass or wooden surfboards."

I think you get my drift. If you're having trouble finding the benefits of your offer, just make a factual statement about your camp.Then ask yourself what results people will get by signing up. Then say, "and that means," and state the outcome of whatever using the feature means.

Give it a try ... it always works!

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