How to construct a selling story with a happy ending

We’ve had a lot of requests to learn more about building selling stories that deliver better outcomes when negotiating with customers. Clearly, a lot of consumer goods manufacturers are looking for a better approach to negotiating the annual agreement with customers.

You can start by recognizing that buyers buy benefits, not features. “What’s in it for me?” has always reigned supreme and that hasn’t changed. Running a promotion is an action, not an outcome. The benefit to your customer is lodged in the achievement of KPIs. “Show me a plan that will deliver profitable results or be prepared for a hefty bill to cover my costs.”

So you need to rethink your model. Here’s the one we propose: Feature-Advantage-Benefit. A feature has an advantage, and that advantage delivers the benefit. If you approach your customer with new, more attractive packaging and tell him it will produce more sales, your customer will be neither impressed nor convinced. With the Features-Advantage-Benefit Model, you have a three-step argument:

  1. You present the feature of the new packaging, which you’ve developed because your research has proven that this particular packaging will appeal more to the consumer for these reasons.
  2. The advantage of this feature is that consumers will have increased desire for the brand and therefore put more push on the shopper to purchase it. Then you present how you will leverage this advantage through your in-store activities that are designed to create the opportunity for the shopper to buy the product (a combination of availability, offer, and communication).
  3. The benefit to this advantage is that the customer will sell more product through the influence that is driving more shoppers to purchase more product.

Follow this model in this sequence when you build your selling stories and you will achieve greater results, both in profitability and in the customer relationship. Your customer will see you as a thinking problem-solver who understands his business.

Have you incorporated shopper-based selling stories into your customer business plan? If you want help building those stories based on your data or training your team in the strategy, we can help. Let us know your challenges!


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