Companies are constantly looking for new ways to differentiate themselves from the competition and drive more sales. While hard benefits like cost savings and revenue growth often take center stage during sales pitches and negotiations, it’s the soft benefits – the qualitative, less tangible advantages that a product or service offers – that can make all the difference in closing a deal.
In this blog post, we dive into the differences between soft and hard benefits, examples of soft benefits, and how to position your soft benefits and effectively sell your qualitative advantages to drive sales success.
Let’s start with the hard benefits. These are the benefits you’re probably most accustomed to hearing about–and your sales decks are probably already peppered with them. Hard benefits are essentially quantifiable advantages that directly impact a company’s bottom line. They typically include metrics like cost savings, increased efficiency, and revenue growth. These benefits are relatively “easy” to communicate to potential customers because they are usually straightforward to measure and compare.
Soft benefits, on the other hand, are more qualitative and emotional. They involve the more intangible advantages of a solution like improved customer satisfaction, stronger brand reputation, and enhanced employee morale. These benefits are more difficult to measure and quantify, but they can be just as important as hard benefits when it comes to engaging prospects and closing deals.
There are many different types of soft benefits that will vary significantly depending on the product or service being offered. Some examples of soft benefits include:
While sales reps often focus on hard benefits when trying to win over customers, soft benefits are just as important to include in sales conversations. Soft benefits can help you:
To effectively sell your soft benefits, you’ll need to take a very customer-centric approach to ensure that the value you’re communicating is aligned with your customer’s needs and priorities. Here are a few practical ways to effectively sell your qualitative advantages:
It’s important to clearly understand what qualitative benefits matter most to your target customer. To do this, you’ll want to gain as much first-party information as you can. This can include conducting surveys, interviews, or focus groups to gain insights into your target customers’ priorities and preferences. From there, you can tailor your sales pitch to focus on the soft benefits that will best resonate with your audience. To learn more, see how to conduct a customer value analysis.
Use storytelling techniques to convey emotional impact. Instead of just listing soft benefits in your sales pitch, consider how you tell the story. For example, you might use anecdotes, case studies, and examples to illustrate how your product or service has delivered these benefits in the past. Use a narrative arch to convey the messaging, starting with the challenges your customer faces and positioning your soft benefits as the hero of the story.
Leverage customer testimonials, case studies, and brand advocates to demonstrate the real-world impact of your soft benefits. This will make it easier for potential customers to visualize the value your product or service can bring to their work.
While soft benefits can be more difficult to measure than hard benefits, there are often ways that you can still attach a numerical value to them. For example, you can use metrics like customer satisfaction scores or employee engagement metrics to provide concrete evidence of your solution’s qualitative advantages. This can help bridge the gap between soft benefits and their impact on your customers’ bottom line.
Soft benefits may not be as easily quantifiable as hard benefits, but they should not be overlooked in your sales strategy. In fact, soft benefits can be incredibly powerful when it comes to differentiating yourself from the competition and standing out in a crowded market filled with similar solutions. By using soft benefits to tell a compelling story, you can craft more compelling sales pitches that resonate with your target audience on a deeper level – beyond dollars and cents.