What is the Features, Advantages, and Benefits (FAB) Model?

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The Features, Advantages, and Benefits Model (also known as FAB) can be a great tool used to effectively sell any product/service. At it’s core, the FAB Model is a way you can describe a product/service in terms of the physical characteristics, the advantages of those characteristics, the direct benefit to the customer.

People buy when they can see the real value for them individually. Using the Features, Advantages, and Benefits Model , you can build a high level of value quickly. 

Features

Your product/service features can be easily described as the physical characteristics or facts about your product/service. The features are usually specific and describe the appearance and components of whatever it is that you are selling. The features are often the easiest to describe because they are basic cold hard facts that can easily be listed on a sheet of paper.

Recently, my wife and I were looking to purchase our first home together. After selecting our budget and going through the financing approval phase, we set out to find a home. As all house-hunters know, the search can be overwhelming, especially when presented with a barrage of different options. One thing that we did notice was that every real estate information sheet listed the house features in a bullet-list format. Once we found a house that we were interested in, our real estate agent handed us a sheet of paper with the following features listed:

  • Type: Single Family
  • Year Built: 2014
  • Heating: Heat pump
  • Sustainable Doors & Windows
  • Water: City source
  • Parking: 2 car garage attached
  • Bedrooms: 3
  • Bathrooms: 2 full, 1 half
  • Basement: None
  • Roof type: Asphalt
  • Exterior: Vinyl
  • Floor size: 1,844 sq ft
  • Lot size: 7,405 sq ft
  • Flooring: Carpet/linoleum

All of these were facts and features about the home that we were interested in. This is all extremely important information to know as a potential buyer. Without this information, we would not be able to make a purchasing decision at all, nor would we want to.

It does not matter if you are selling homes, cars, timeshare, security systems, etc. All products/services have a list of facts and features that must be presented to the prospect. Features are also good to use when comparing two products/services with the prospect. Going back to the real estate example, our realtor would often show us 3+ homes at once, all side-by-side with the facts and features listed accordingly. From there, we were able to get a pretty good idea of what houses we wanted to see, and which ones we wanted to pass up.

However, just listing off all the facts and features is not enough to build value in the prospect. Otherwise, all we would have to do would be to hand out fliers to prospects that listed all the features on them. While this can work in some instances, it’s important for us to build value by describing the features in a way that the prospect can relate to, which brings us to the next part: the advantages.

Advantages

The advantages can be easily defined as to what the features can actually do in terms of functionality. This is different from the listed features themselves in the sense that the features are simply facts and data about the product/service. If you describe how the features work and what they can do, that’s describing the advantages of that feature.

Going back to the previous example of my wife and I looking for a house to purchase, one of the features of the house that we were interested in was the sustainable windows and doors. That’s a simple feature of the house – the windows are ecologically designed to be more efficient. The advantage of the sustainable windows is that it uses a special tint that is more efficient in stopping the heat transfer, causing a more energy efficient window. That’s the advantage of having a sustainable window rather than a regular double pane window.

Mechanically, this looks like this:

  • The feature was: sustinable windows and doors
  • The advantage was: glass that is more efficient in inhibiting heat transfer 

Advantages essentially describe why the product or service is functionally superior. This is where your technical knowledge comes in handy. Advantages are important because they give real meaning to the features. Had my realtor not described what the advantage of sustainable windows were, I never would have known (nor would I have cared enough to have done the research myself), so it would have seemed like a non-important element to the house. Now, I have a greater appreciation for the house in general.

Unfortunately, just listing the advantages is still not enough to build value with the prospect. After all, the whole idea behind the pitch is to make your product extremely relevant to the prospect. Features are simple meaningless facts about the product. Advantages give the features meaning, but not relevance to the prospect individually. This is why the next step is so crucial. Without it, prospects will have a difficult time building value or understanding why they need to purchase your product/service at all.

Benefits

Benefits can be defined as to how the advantages are relevant for that prospect individually. The benefits of the product is where you will really drive the point home for your prospects and where you will build enough value to make a sale happen. As we have discussed earlier in this book, making your presentation exclusive for the prospect is one of the best ways that you can build trust and value. This is where that concept will really be the difference between a successful sales call and one that is not. At the end of the day, if a prospect does not feel like your product/service is relevant to them, they will have no need to purchase it. If they do feel as if it is relevant to them and can indeed help them, they have a much stronger likelihood of saying “yes” to you. This part is where you will make it relevant.

To keep it consistent, let’s continue with the house example. At this point in the discussion, my real estate agent gave me the feature that the house utilized sustainable windows and doors. She told me that the advantage was that it could efficiently inhibit heat transfer better than the double pane windows. The main benefit to me individually was that my HVAC system would use 25% less energy than my current system uses, which translates to significant direct financial savings for me personally.

  • The feature was: sustinable windows and doors
  • The advantage was: glass that is more efficient in inhibiting heat transfer 
  • The benefit was: my HVAC system using 25% less energy than my current one uses, which means I save a lot of money every month on energy bills

For me, this benefit was amazingly important. We live in a climate where our energy bills are often ridiculously expensive. This benefit, which started off as a simple feature, turned into a major selling point for me. This is why explaining the benefits are so important. It makes the features and advantages relevant to the prospect.

Benefits make it real. Benefits make your product/service important. It’s worth noting that if you have not properly completed the discovering a need stop, this will be significantly more difficult. If you remember, that’s the stop where the prospect tells us what their problems & needs are. The benefits section is where you can match your product/service up exactly to those problems & needs.

FAB Statements

It’s not until you describe the features, advantages, and benefits in relation to that prospect specifically will they see any value in your product/service. This is why it’s important to have a series of power statements for each feature that you want to present to the prospect. These statements should be able to present a product/service technical characteristics (features), what the characteristic can do (advantages) and why it’s perfect for that individual prospect (benefits).

Here would be the example to show off the windows:

“Let me show you a feature of this house that I think would be perfect for you. This house has sustainable windows and doors. The windows are coated with a ecologically efficient glaze that creates a better insulated glass that inhibits heat transfer much better than a regular double pane window. This means that your HVAC system uses 25% less energy than everyone else – you’re going to save a lot of money in this house.”

A statement like that builds some serious value. This is a way you can turn simple features in to major selling points. I know that it worked for me – it’s May and i’s already 94 degrees!

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Author: Jason Karaman

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