What are features, benefits and discriminators?

Baskar Sundaram
Baskar Sundaram

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When selling a product or service, it’s important to understand the difference between features and benefits. Features are the specific characteristics of what you’re selling, while benefits are the advantages or reasons why someone would want to buy it. Discriminators are what sets your product or service apart from others on the market. When marketing a product or service, it is important to differentiate between features and benefits. Features are the features and capabilities of your product or service. Benefits result from features and solve customer problems. Customers buy benefits, not features.

How to get started?

Understand your Customer

Understanding the needs of your customer is key in determining which benefits will resonate with them. You can then use those benefits to differentiate your product or service from others.

Building a relationship with your customer base is essential in order to best understand their needs. By taking the time to get to know them, you’ll be able to better match your features with their desired benefits. In doing so, you will know what they’re looking for, you can create a unique selling proposition that will attract attention and drive sales.


USP = Unique Selling Proposition. A unique selling proposition is a feature that your product or service has that no one else does. It’s what makes you different and sets you apart from the competition. When creating a USP, focus on what benefits your customer will get by using your product or service.

Know your Competition

In order to develop and evaluate competitive intelligence, it is essential to first understand what features and benefits the competitor offers, and what the customer thinks about these features and benefits. Once this understanding has been reached, it is then possible to document the strengths and weaknesses of the competitor, and use this information to develop effective features, benefits, and discriminators for your own offer.

In doing so, you will be able to better position yourself in the market, and offer a more compelling proposition to potential customers.

Benefits over Features

Any business must have features that set it apart from the competition, these are called discriminators. It is important to always keep the customer’s perception in mind when determining what sets your business apart. The people, processes, and tools used for successful customer engagement are discriminators, not your brand.

A feature can be turned into a strength by offering a unique benefit related to it. For example, a software company may offer more features than its competitors, but if those features are not relevant to the customer’s needs, they are not discriminators.

On the other hand, if the company can offer a unique benefit for each feature, then they have converted those features into strengths. It is important to always keep the customer’s needs in mind when determining your business’s discriminators.

Quantify Benefits

As any salesperson knows, it is not enough to simply list the features of a product or service – it is also necessary to demonstrate how those features will provide benefits to the customer. Likewise, when attempting to quantify the potential value of benefits, it is important to be clear and concise in order to avoid confusion.

In order to make the buyer believe the seller’s claims, he/she must make a measurable value proposition with suitable proof. In other words, features must be turned into benefits, and benefits must be supported by data. This process of quantification will not only help to establish trust between buyer and seller, but it will also allow for the setting of performance metrics and benchmarks. Without quantifiable evidence, it can be difficult to determine whether or not the buyer’s goals are being met. As such, quantifying the potential value of benefits is essential in any sales situation.

Avoid this Mistake

One common pitfall is to mistake features for benefits. For example, a feature of a car might be four-wheel drive. The benefit of four-wheel drive is that it provides better traction in slippery conditions. Another pitfall is to assume that all customers value the same features and benefits.

For example, some customers might value four-wheel drive because they live in an area with lots of snow, while others might not value it because they live in an area with little snow. It’s important to segment your customers and understand what features and benefits are most important to them.  By understanding what features and benefits are most important to your customers, you can create a more compelling offering that meets their needs.

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