Customers have it tough. There are an ocean of product options today, and each one has its own set of product attributes. Just take a look at the cereal aisle next time you’re at the grocery store — point proven. In this sea of selection, customers must weigh the pros and cons to make the right decision. It can be pretty time-consuming and a little frustrating.
But for the seller, choosing the right products to sell is job one lest they be pushed to the side. Are you offering products that people want, or is your competitor doing a better job?
In this guide, we will help you understand product attributes and how to use them to your advantage when marketing your product. Done right, your product will be chosen first more frequently. Let’s get into this.
What are Product Attributes?
Product attributes are the characteristics of a product that separate it from others on the market. They can be safety, performance, appearance, comfort/convenience, economical, or durability attributes, also known as the acronym SPACED. These are more commonly known as product features.
Product attributes are important for marketing and sales. They help identify what makes a product special or unique to a customer. When your product has the right attributes, it makes customers all the more willing to swipe their card.
There are plenty of markets with products that all do basically the same thing. Often, for example, air conditioners simply have a different badge. Finding out what unique attributes your product offers is one way to stay ahead in your saturated market.
To explore your product attributes from a new angle of approach, book a call with Wizard of Sales™.
Examples of Product Attributes
In order to sell a product successfully, it is crucial to identify and understand the product attributes that your target market will truly appreciate. It’s about reaching the customer’s heart and mind.
By understanding what makes your product appealing, you can focus your marketing efforts on highlighting those attributes that will drive purchase decisions. Product attributes are only the first of 3 crucial elements when deciding what to buy. Knowing your product’s features matter only in so much as they provide buyers with benefits. But people don’t buy features or benefits unto themselves. Rather, they buy the advantages the features and benefits provide.
Imagine you’re a savvy customer shopping for a products… What gets you excited? Let’s explore a few product attributes of an HVAC system.
Product Attribute: Warranty
Warranties protect the buyer from defective parts and poor workmanship. A one year parts warranty is standard in most HVAC parts. Most home service companies will increase the one year parts warranty to a one year parts and labor warranty. Some home service companies will double that one year parts and labor warranty to a two year parts and labor warranty for club members.
Benefits: Safety, economy, durability
- A warranty increases the perceived confidence that the product will do what is promised as there is a self-imposed punishment for the company who installs it as they would have to come out and replace it.
- A warranty increases the value of the product as it reduces the risk of spending the money on a given product as it helps reduce the cost of ownership if it needed to be replaced.
Advantage: Safety, economy, durability
- The customer perceived that they will spend less with products that have superior warranties.
- The customer will spend less time farting around replacing cheap parts.
- The customer will suffer less stress and frustration of catostrophic failures or untimely, costly repairs.
Product Attribute: Quietness
Quiet products are less noticeable and produce less vibration which can improve the longevity of the product. Products that are meant to be seen and not heard hold a higher value than louder products in the same category.
Benefits: Performance, comfort, durability
- Quiet products are perceived as higher quality due to their superior performance leading to higher confidence from the consumer.
- Quiet products are less disruptive to the buyer make for a more peaceful enviormonment which holds greater intrinsic value.
- Quiet products are more durable leading to a lower cost of ownership which hold a higher perceived value of quality and lower cost of ownership.
Advantage: Performance, comfort, durability
- The customer perceives that they will spend less over the lifetime ownership of the product.
- The customer will spend less time having to deal with service or premature repalcement.
- The customer believes they will suffer less stress and disruption having to listen to a noisy product.
Product Attribute: High Efficiency
High efficiency products save the customer on the cost of ongoing ownership through lower energy bills. High efficiency increases the perceived value of a product due to the perceived ROI and the altruistic environmental benefits.
Benefits: Performance, economy
- High efficiency products save the customer on the cost of ongoing ownership.
- High efficiency increases the perceived value of a product due to the perceived ROI
- High efficiency increases the perceived value of a product due to the perceived altruistic environmental benefits.
Advantage: Performance, economy
- Lower energy bills put less burden on the owners money and time investment.
- Products that provide a higher efficiency are symbolic of an intelligent and savvy shopper.
- Products that provide higher efficiency align with a customer’s identity of being a good stewart of the earth.
Country of Origin
Buying a domestic product is not only indicative of one’s patriotism, it is also a means to reduce the stress and frustration of having to wait for parts to be shipped from overseas in the event of an untimely breakdown.
Benefits: Safety, appearance, economy, durability
- Buying a domestic product reduces the risk of being left without air conditioning while waiting on parts.
- Purchasing domestic products identifies some as patriots.
- Domestic products not only keep money inside the country to feed the economy, but they also don’t have the added cost of shipping in relation to overseas options.
- Domestic purchases are a safer bet as they hold a higher perceived quality.
Advantage: Safety, appearance, economy, durability
- Quick part replacements means less stress and frustration of not having a functioning unit.
- I feel good to align myself as a patriot and proud to support such an effort.
- I am serving the greater good to spend my money wisely within my own country.
- I am a smart and savvy shopper for buying domestic goods as it is a wise investment in superior quality.
The Importance of Product Attributes
Understanding the importance of product attributes is essential for any business, especially if you want to create a competitive advantage for your product. Product attributes are used to communicate the benefits and advantages of your product to customers. Your salespeople and techs are meant to persuade customers to purchase your goods over competitive products, even when your products are essentially the same.
It’s not WHAT you say. It’s HOW you say it.
So don’t just identify a products attributes. Dig deeper and articulate not only the many ways that a feature benefits the user, but the advantage of the benefits. Salespeople and marketers can use product features advantageously, promoting that the features benefits and advantages to the customer.
Product Attribute Decisions
When it comes to choosing the product attributes to highlight and feature, marketers and salespeople have to make some choices.
- What matters most to my audience?
- What features best represent the things that matter most to my audience?
- How should I frame these features in the best light?
Making these decisions can be tricky, but it’s essential to get them right to create a product that stands out from the competition and meets the needs of your target market. Let’s discuss three main decision areas you must consider when making attribute decisions for your products.
3 Decision Areas
3 Pain Points
Sales are the lifeblood of any business, and when our salespeople and techs understand the fundamental pain points that they are trying to relieve, they are able to speak to those felt needs much more effectively.
Money is the first and most poignant pain point for people. Not because it is the most important or valuable, rather because it is the easiest to measure.
When a prospect is looking for the cheapest price, they value their money more than their time. This indicates you are dealing with a Birkenstock Professor or Oxygen Thief, also known as a Transactional Shopper.
Whena prospect is looking for the best solution to make the problem go away indefinitely, you are dealing with The Joneses’ or a Daddy Warbucks, otherwise known as a Relational Buyer. These people value their time more than their money.
Don’t take a Relational Buyer to be a fool. Money isn’t infinite, and you still have to pass the value test to win the sale.
While both Relational Buyers and Transactional Shoppers enter the purchase from different perspectives, they both have the end in mind.
Energy is the end, while money and time are the means to that end. When you do the research, what you will discover will both surprise you and be so obvious at the same time.
All things that humans do, in every aspect of life, is for the pursuit of positive energy. -Ryan Chute
Energy is represented in our body through stress, anxiety, depression, emotion, frustration, happiness, calm, and so on. If we look back at Psychology 101, we learn about reward and punishment, or pain and pleasure in the fundamentals of human behavior.
Money and time are interchangeable, and are weighed carefully when making a purchase decision along with the perceived pain or pleasure that accompanies the decision.
When the value of the purchase outweighs the money, negative energy, and time imposed upon the shopper, you have the opportunity to sell.
Time is the most precious resource, as it is the only of the three that is non-renewable. This is why so many people protect their time by giving those that they don’t trust so little of it.
If the buyer chooses to go ahead, they are risking not only their time, but their money and the chance of inviting negative energy into their lives. Therefore, time, like money and energy, are a test.
You must pass all three tests to secure the sale. When you are successful, you will have M.E.T. their true felt needs.
3 Key Features
The 3 most prevalent product features in residential home services are comfort/convenience features, safety features, and savings features (economy and durability). I refer to this subset of SPACED as CSS.
People are looking for the bits and pieces that have best M.E.T. their felt needs. CSS (cofort, safety, and savings) features are the dominant features when considering an externally triggered grudge purchase.
Comfort features include a wide range of product attributes, from smart thermostats to improved airflow. Whatever features you would consider something that lead to the comfort and convenience of your customer, these are the things to highlight in your demonstration.
Remember, people are on a perpetual pursuit of positive energy. This includes being effortlessly comfortable in their home when using your product. To be cold when you want to be cold, and hot when you want to be hot is a textbook definition of pain vs pleasure.
Safety comes in a variety of forms, as indicated above. But all in all, people are looking to be in a safe environment for themselves and those in their care. This is a simple survival need that ensures the continuation of our species, but also creates a foundation for people to step away from survival mose and step into (and stay in) thriving mode.
Savings is only about how cheap the product is, but how much it will cost to own it. More often than not, the cheapest product is not the lowest priced product as it incurs a higher cost of ownership, and a shorter life expectancy.
When we can articulate CSS features better than our competitors, we are far more likely to win the sale on the first sit at a higher average sale and profit.
Robert Frank was a spectacularly successful photographer who was know for taking pictures from radically different points of reference. Often his work excludes what other photographers would find necessary to include.
Frameline magnetism is when a photographer doesn’t take the whole image into the picture. Robert Frank was exceptional at this as he allowed the audience to fill in what wasn’t there.
Customers do not care about what’s under the hood. They only care that the thing under the hood does it’s job. In sales, this means we need to choose what NOT to say.
What do we leave out to leave up to the imagination? The imagination will do a far better job in capturing the heart than any sales pitch ever could.
Felt needs are pain points and pain points come from where the prospect is in their mind. When a person is in survival mode, they are more likely to be protective of their money. They will sacrifice both time and energy to secure their future. This is often when the Transactional Shopper in all of us rears it ugly head. For some, they never leave survival mode, even if things are going pretty good for them.
When a person transcends to thriving mode, they begin to protect their time more than their money, as money is a means to elevate their status in belonging. This is where, in an effort to enjoy more rewards, secure love and affection, and provide the discretionary virtues of life, relational thinking can occur.
If we hope to be as persuasive as we can to as many people as we can, we must speak the correct language to our prospect based specifically where they are with their felt needs. This also means we can leave out the bit that the prospect doesn’t care about, which leaves more mental real estate for the stuff that matters to them most.
Buying is a feeling. When a purchase feels right, people will buy. We often hear people buy with emotion, and justify with logic. What they are saying is actually based on neuroscience. Because the information we receive has to first pass through Broca’s Area of the brain, a spot that only allows the new, different, and interesting through to the imagination, we first have to perceive of the buy. A person cannot go where they have not yet been in their mind. That is the imagination.
Then, and only then, will the imagination pass it though to the decision making center of the brain. Interestingly enough, this decision making area of the brain is on the right side of the brain. That means there is no facility for words. That’s a left brain function. Therefore, buying is a feeling, that is justified by the left brain logic faculties.
When we frame our best messages to the actual felt needs of the buyer, in the language of the type of buyer, leaving out all the boring bits, and showing your prospects the value through stories and examples, you have the highest chance of closing the deal today at a higher average sale and profit.
Best Practices For Complete and Consistent Product Attributes
As a business owner, you know that providing persuasive product attributes is essential to successful product listings. But what are the best practices for curating these attributes? And how can you ensure that your product data is up-to-date and valid?
Here are the best practices for accurately compiling your products’ attributes and keeping your data current. By following these tips, you can ensure that your customers always have accurate information about your products.
Work With Your Team
When it comes to product attributes, teamwork is key. By working together, you and your team can determine the best product attributes for sales. Then, you’ll be able to maintain a consistent product offering that meets customer demands.
There are a few things to remember when working on product attributes as a team.
First, make sure to communicate with one another. This way, everyone is on the same page and there is less room for error. Second, keep an open mind. Not every idea will be a winner, but it’s important to consider all options before deciding. Third, don’t be afraid to experiment. Trying new things is how innovation happens. So go ahead and test out different product ideas. Last, but not least, use the above information as a litmus test to ensure you are on point to what the buyer cares about most.
Make a List of Product Attributes
Forming a list of your product attributes is a great way to increase awareness and improve your product value proposition. Including key information about your product makes it more appealing to potential customers and gives them the confidence they need to purchase.
When creating a product attribute list, there are a few best practices to keep in mind:
- Be clear and concise: Use simple language that everyone can understand. Avoid technical jargon or complicated terms.
- Be specific: Include as many details as possible about each product attribute. This will help you speak to the customer about what makes your product unique and why they should purchase it based on their needs, not yours.
- Highlight the benefits, but more importantly, the advantages: Focus on how each product attribute can benefit the customer and why that is an advantage to them specifically.
Make Use of Attribute Types and Rules
The more you know about your product and its attributes, the better you’ll be able to sell it. That’s why it’s important to use attribute types and rules.
Attribute types help you understand the different aspects of your product. For example, if you’re selling an air conditioner, you’ll want to know the type of tonnage, SEER, configuration, and so on.
Rules help you determine how those attributes can be used in marketing and sales. For example, you might have a rule that says only certain services can be promoted during certain seasons, like preventative maintenance in the shoulders seasons.
By understanding and using attribute types and rules, you can maximize your sales potential and keep your product offerings consistent.
Examine Your Competitors
When it comes to product attributes, your competitors are a great source of comparison. By examining their sales and marketing strategies, you can better understand what works and how to do it better. That knowledge can help you fine-tune your product attributes and create a more effective marketing strategy.
When reading reviews, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First, understand that people often use different terminology when discussing the same product attribute. For example, “furnace” and “heater” might be used interchangeably by some reviewers.
Second, take note of the context in which the review is being written. A reviewer who is writing about a product’s attributes might describe them differently. Finally, remember that reviews are often subjective and should be taken with a grain of salt.
You now better understand product attributes and how they can help you sell more. But remember that when it comes time to make decisions about your product attributes, always go for complete and consistent information. That will ensure that customers have all the information they need to make an informed purchase decision.
Applying these best practices might just be the push your business needs to close more sales today at a higher average sale and profit. Book a call with Wizard of Sales® when you’re ready!