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1. Meets a need – The greater the need, the easier the sale. For example, you cannot make omelettes without first buying some eggs. When the need is compelling and urgent, sales are easier to make.

2. Highly desirable – you don’t need it all the time, but right now it’s really appealing and readily available. This is why ice cream sells well on the beach and in the hot weather.

3. Affordable – your customer can manage the payments, either in one lump or by installments.

4. Safe – your product is reliable and perhaps reduces risk; insurance example.

5. Performance – it does what it says on the box. Reputation and evidence of the success of others is a good way to communicate good performance.

6. Appearance – it looks good. Given the choice, no one would buy a product if one that looked more appealing was available.

7. Convenience – it’s there, close and handy. Supermarkets and retailers score simply by being closest to the customer’s home.

8. Economy – once you have bought it, the question is how cheap will it be to run? Clearly this is true of cars but it’s also true for products such as paint, where cheaper paint doesn’t cover as large an area as one containing more pigment.

9. Durability – the lifespan of a product often dictates its value for money.The cheapest often does not last as long as the most expensive.

10. Peer pressure – if everyone else has one, you want one too. This applies to business purchases as well as those by consumers. No one likes to be left behind.

Understanding the difference between features and benefits is a key point. Too many people promote features, profits and forget the benefits and needs of their customers. Imagine you are buying a van. Here are some possible features and benefits:

You must always be alive to what your customers are thinking and saying about your product or service. Sometimes, what they say will surprise, or even offend you. However, if your motive for being in business is to make money (and it should be) you need to listen attentively and adapt to meet the demand and needs of your customers.