Sales Presentation: Benefits, Positive or Negative? Yes!


The great sales technician and trainer, Doug Edwards, said “people buy emotionally and then justify their purchase logically.”  Salespersons have been proving this statement true for decades through their own experiences.  Since we know that our prospects are very likely to have their emotions involved in their buying decision; that should affect how we present the benefits of our product.  As professional salespersons, we know that a presented benefit tells the prospect what the product “helps them gain” or “helps them avoid losing.”  Should we present our benefits positively or negatively?  The answer is “Yes.”

Studies over many years have determined that most people are “more afraid to lose something” than they are “enthusiastic about gaining something.”  So it would seem that a negative benefit presentation would work most often.  However, another great sales trainer, Larry Wilson, said that buyers respond differently to positives and negatives.  Some buyers become more emotionally interested if the benefits are presented in a positive way.  Other buyers are more likely to be more emotionally interested if the benefits are presented in a negative way.  Larry recommends that we “dip the prospects into both cold and hot buckets of water as we present the benefits.”  What Larry means by that is that we should alternate our benefit presentation between positive (cold bucket of water) and negative (hot bucket of water).  By doing this we accomplish two important goals.  First, we increase our chances of finding the right “buy button” for the two different types of buyers.  Second, we do not appear “overly positive” or “overly negative” in our presentation.  Either extreme could cause the prospect to feel uncomfortable.

To illustrate this Larry Wilson technique, let’s follow the script of a salesperson selling the benefits of a set of automobile tires:

Salesperson: “John let me tell you a little about these tires.  Because of the composition of the materials used in this tire, you will not need to replace them for 75,000 miles.  That will mean a big savings over time.

John another benefit comes from the tread design of this tire.  Because it does a better job of displacing the water on a road, you will not experience that horrible feeling of loss of control that occurs when the car begins planing on a wet highway.

John have you ever noticed how the smoothness of your ride changes when you are riding on a road that is being resurfaced.  The unfinished part seems rougher than the part of the road that has been finished.  Because of the quality of materials in these tires, you will feel that more comfortable ride on almost all roads all the time.

John, because these tires have a “self sealing system” that seals tire punctures, you will never find yourself on a dark and lonely road in the middle of a rain storm trying to change a flat tire.”

I have placed the “cold bucket” (positive) benefit presentations in blue font italics.  I have placed the “hot bucket” (negative) benefits presentations in red font.  By thinking about our own product and the benefits to the buyer, we should be able to create a wonderful variety of both positive and negative benefit statements.  You can automatically create as many as 24 different ways to present Feature, Advantage and Benefit by using our “FAB Script Writing Tool” found on the Members only page.  I am “positive” that you will not have a “negative” experience on our site.

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