Business Sense: The ‘What’s in it for me?’ factor

Jun 1, 2010

What’s in it for me?

When it comes down to it, isn’t that what every consumer wants to know? Before we buy, we want the answers to the benefit questions: How is this purchase going to make my life easier, help me have more fun, make me look sexier or save me money?

Customization trends: Good for restylers

The prevailing theme in our culture today is customization and this trend is likely to remain unchanged. From cell phones and computers to shoes and M&M’s consumers want to personalize just about everything. This is great news for the restyling market. All restyling products are functional – they offer some benefits beyond aesthetics alone, and typically that includes increased vehicle value.

The truth is you’ve got to engage a customer within the first 30 seconds of the conversation or you’ve lost your opportunity; if you lead with the benefits of the product, you’ll have their attention. So when a customer enters the store, be ready to discuss products in terms of those benefits the customer will receive – then support the benefits information with the features. This will take a little practice because most of us have been trained to do it the other way around.

Let’s look at a few examples using a very popular product in the market today. We’ll start with running boards. Think about the different types of running boards and different applications they lend themselves to based upon the benefits they deliver.

A few examples

First, ask the customer some pointed questions about what kind of vehicle they have, what they use the vehicle for, and what they hope to accomplish. For example, if you’re talking with a guy who’s got a work truck, you’ll want to lead with the benefits associated with a running board that’s build to last. A running board that is the toughest, longest-lasting, with an inherently rust- and corrosion-resistant option (the benefits) is manufactured out of 18-gauge, 304 stainless steel (the feature). This kind of material also typically comes with a lifetime warranty, which is another great benefit to tout because it adds to product perception value, as well as to the value of the vehicle.

Or, maybe the customer wants a running board, but personally doesn’t like the stationary, one-piece, bolt-on running boards because “dang, that truck looks good” to him and he doesn’t want to sacrifice appearance. In this case, the benefits associated with an electric-powered running board might be a great place to start because one of the benefits is that the running board moves out of sight when vehicle doors are closed thereby maintaining the clean lines and style of the vehicle. When the door is open, the owner has the benefit of stepping into the vehicle at the optimal height. These types of running boards also offer the benefit of increasing vehicle value. And, let’s face it, they’re just fun.

On the other hand, if the customer wants a functional running board for a daily driver and is also concerned about fuel economy and the environment, then the benefits associated with the newer composite running boards might be a good place to start. For example, some of these composite running boards meet running board structural requirements but are half the weight (usually about 30 lbs. per vehicle less) of other running boards. The weight reduction translates to improved fuel economy. Not only that, when removed, the running boards can be recycled. Now, that’s cool, too.

For every product, lead with the benefits associated with things that are related to customer values and goals. Then, provide expert recommendations regarding the brands you carry in that product category, explaining the benefits, features and price points of each option.

Some final thoughts

In 2008, the “accessories and appearance” product category represented 66% of all aftermarket products sold. With current customization trends, this is likely to get even better. You deserve a piece of that market share, and by leading with the benefits, you can accomplish the goal of engaging the customer immediately with information that answers the “What’s in it for me?” question on everyone’s mind.

Integrating this simple habit into your sales philosophy will lead to increased sales and increased customer satisfaction. And, that’s what’s in it for you.