BNI networking and the concept of benefits
I was at a BNI meeting and in the educational slot we talked of features, advantages and benefits.
Benefits are what is in it for your customer.
A benefit saves, increases or provides a solution.
Interestingly enough I was talking to one of the members of BNI Dave Kirkwood of the Vantis group,email@example.com.
He provides accountancy services and in talking about his work he said, they provide a safe pair of hands.
So what they do is to solve a problem for you. Who hasn’t had a headache trying to sort out their tax. I always worry as to whether I have done everything correctly. Having been in the local tax office on the 31st January I have seen lots of worried faces. Having a company which takes the worry from you is a source of great relief and is a real benefit. But Dave has taken the idea of reducing worry to a new level. After a planning meeting he can offer you a total cost for your years work and provided there are no drastic changes in your way of working that will stay as a fixed figure. And the big benefit is that he offers a free phone service to answer any queries you might have.
That is a massive benefit.
I am sure if he wanted he could point out other benefits re saving (saving you money by reducing specific expenses) or increasing (recommending ways to reorganise your business to increase profits)
An amazing array of benefits.
Not the end of the story. How do we find creative ways to effectively communicate these benefits. Certainly for initial first meetings a can opener is needed. A method to impart a message to open a potential client to the benefits that one offers. Again in terms of selling this is only the beginning of creating a productive relationship.
One must discover the needs and wishes of your client. One can only offer a treatment if one understands the clients needs. It is the matching of benefits and needs that requires thought and creativity.
For anyone having read a few selling books this is all obvious stuff. Yet I have seen time and time again experienced salespeople who have not prepared their presentations, not rehearsed them and certainly do not have a short can opener to hand.
I have digressed a long way from my initial opening. I started off wanting to analyse benefits in a bit more depth and to share my thoughts with the participants of that meeting. But as I wrote I realised how benefits must be seen in relation to the whole selling process. And this I think requires ongoing work and a constant working on our skills. Networking requires us to understand others but at the same time we must understand what it is we have to offer and how we can effectively communicate that.