One of the longest standing, most respected and basic presentation methods is F.A.B. Selling. I do not know who first identified this method, but I learned it from Larry Wilson in a Sales Sonics course in the late 1960s. The abbreviations stand for Feature, Advantage and Benefit. Many salespersons would tell you that they understand F.A.B. Selling. My 40+ years experience in sales training has taught me that this is not necessarily so. When salespersons say they understand it, what that has usually meant is that they know that prospects do not buy Features but they buy Benefits. That is about the extent of their understanding. There is a great deal more to this presentation method. The following is to explain the inner workings and how to use F.A.B. Selling, one of the great sales techniques.
Each of the three parts of this method (F.A.B.) answers a question for our prospect. It is imperative that we thoroughly understand these questions and their answers regarding our products and services. Most products or services have more Features than they have Advantages or Benefits. We must know all of them because each prospect may be looking for slightly different purposes from our product or service. When we mention a Feature to a prospect, we answer for them the question, “What is it and what does it do.” For example, if we were selling a telephone, we might say, “Mr. Jones this is a Redial Button. It will automatically redial the last telephone number that you dialed into the phone.” If we were selling an automobile, we might say, “Ms. Jones this is the Cruise Control. It will allow you to set your speed so you will not need to use the accelerator pedal to maintain your speed.”
When we mention an Advantage to a prospect, we answer for them the question, “What problem does that solve for me.” This is often the part of the method that most salespersons do not understand as well as they should. It is very important that the salesperson articulate the problems that their Features are solving. The salesperson must not assume that the prospect is making the connection. Using the Redial Button example we might say, “If you have ever looked up a phone number, called it, completed your conversation and then suddenly remembered you needed to speak with that person again, you will appreciate the Redial Button.” Using the Cruise Control example we might say, “During some of those longer highway trips, you will get better performance from your car because of the consistent speed and you will not need to worry about getting caught for speeding.”
When we mention a Benefit to a prospect, we answer for them the question, “How does that help me avoid a loss or receive a gain.” The ONLY time anyone ever buys anything is when they believe that they will gain more of something they want to have or lose less of something they want to keep than the value to them of the amount of the investment. Therefore educating the prospect as to the Benefits they will receive with our product or service is vital or the sale is very unlikely to happen. Continuing with the Redial Button example we might say, “The time you save and the frustration you avoid is the real benefit of that button.” Continuing with the Cruise Control example we might say, “The money you save on fuel and speeding tickets over the years could be a nice surprise.”
Read the three red sentences one right after the other and then read the three blue sentences the same way. That will give you a sense of how a F.A.B. presentation would sound. It is worth noting that the order in the presentation need not always be F.A.B. For example we could say it B.F.A. like this, “Ms. Jones you could save some money over the years (B) by using the Cruise Control (F). It allows you to save fuel on longer trips through improved performance and helps you avoid a meeting with the Highway Patrol by keeping your speed regulated (A).”
In another article I will explain exactly how to create a F.A.B. Outline so that you will be able to create your own tool for designing your own F.A.B. presentation. Until then you might want to begin listing the Features, Advantages and Benefits of your products or services. The use of F.A.B. Selling is one of the great sales techniques of all time. The sooner you can master the combining of the three elements of the process the sooner you will improve your sales results.
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