Benefits vs Features to answer “So What?”

My first attempt at writing a proposal was a disaster. The client wanted our company to win and had tailored the RFP so we would have a great shot at doing so. We bombed it and lost by just a few points despite the client wanting us to win.

What did we do wrong?

Well lots… we didn’t answer the questions in a way that was easy for the evaluators to give us points, we didn’t format the proposal in way so they could prove we had the answers, but more important — we focused on the features of our company rather than the benefits.

Bottom line is that your client wants to know that your solution is going to benefit them and benefit them better than anyone else.

As you write your proposal don’t forget to continually ask, “So what?”

Let me give you an example…

If an RFP is to provide sandwiches for their employees from 12-1 pm every weekday, you need to obviously state that you will do that.  But so will every other competitor.

A feature of your company is that you have provided lunch solutions to ten other companies in the past year that are similar in size to this one.  You have a history of reliably providing lunch on time and within budget.  You have the experience and know-how to do this.

So what?

How will this benefit the customer?

Your benefit is that their employees can rely on their lunch being ready so they can get back to work and improve their profitability and that employee morale is high because of the quality lunch so turnover is less and will decrease their recruiting and training costs.

As you work through the features and benefits, think about what keeps your customer awake at night and make sure your features scratches that worry… that is your benefit and that benefit is what will help you win new work.

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