You have asked great questions, you’ve uncovered at least three important customer needs that your offerings can address, and you’re ready to begin your product presentation. Know what you’re going to do now? If you’re like most salespeople, you’re going to lose all of the momentum you’ve built and maybe the sale, as well by launching a long, boring, standardized recitation of product features. Your presentation won’t even focus directly on the key needs you took such pains to identify.

People don’t buy product features. They buy solutions to their own needs.

Customers don’t care about your product features or even about the benefits those features offer to the world at large. Customers care about one thing only: How can you help me solve problems or seize opportunities that matter to me?

What you need is a simple, structured method for product presentations that lets you stop rambling about features that may be irrelevant to this customer and start presenting solutions to specific needs instead solutions that are crisp, clear, brief, and to the point.

There is such a method. It’s called TFBR. Here is how it works.

T – Tie-Back . Tie the conversation back to a need you identified with your earlier questions:

“You told me earlier that you want to match the products that you stock with the unique needs of each region.”

F – Feature. Describe a product feature that meets that need:

“Our regional purchases history reporting will show you exactly what the most popular products are in each region.”

B – Benefit. Explain how that feature will serve this customer’s specific need:

“What this means to you is that you will improve service to your customers while minimizing the inventory needed at each location.”

R – Reaction. Ask for the customer’s own view of how the benefit would serve the need. This confirms that you correctly understand the need. Also, importantly, it turns the product presentation into a dialogue with the customer instead of a monologue by you:

“How will this information help you improve your business?”

Cast each product feature or capability you present in the TFBR format. And present only features that represent solutions to needs you have already uncovered and agreed upon.

The TFBR method will shorten your product presentations dramatically and make them far more powerful. Why put your customers to sleep when you can engage them instead in a problem-solving dialogue that makes them very happy they agreed to meet with you?

Action Selling In Action

The TFBR method isn’t just for salespeople who meet clients face to face. The marketing professionals who support your company’s sales efforts can use the TFBR format to help salespeople zero in on ways to present products as solutions that address key customer needs. Marketing people should think in terms of the TFBR process when communicating product information to the sales force and to customers.

Connie Fuller, manager of human resource development at Ball Seed Company, put it this way: “When marketing presents information consistent with Action Selling concepts, it is immediately more useful to our reps. It also supports our training efforts and creates a wonderful synergy.