Case studies are critical to the sales process. A typical client or prospect case study has three key components: a problem, a solution, and a benefit. If you’re unable to secure a client case study or you don’t obtain this information during a case study, ask a client directly to speak to the problems that their products resolve and the benefits of these solutions, focusing on solutions to everyday customer problems. During your conversation, keep the following rules in mind to get the content you need to market their products successfully.

Understand the difference between a benefit and a feature

A feature is something that a product “is” or “does.” For example, the safety features of a mini van may include the reinforced roof, tempered glass windshield, and dual front passenger airbags. Listing these features isn’t sufficient for helping customers appreciate their benefits. You must go beyond the features and talk about their benefits. For example, maybe the dual front passenger airbags reduce the incidence of death in a rollover accident by 50%.

Use concise, engaging language with minimal jargon and clichés

Simple, strong words that elicit emotion help customers remember the benefits of a product longer and more easily. Using generic business clichés or technical terminology or rattling off a dozen benefits at once creates confusion and takes away from the emotion of the pitch. Instead of listing 10 benefits, choose the top two benefits and describe them using vivid, plain language. Your copy for the tempered glass windshield might read as follows: “In the event of a front end collision, there’s a good chance you and your passengers will walk away unharmed.”

Pay attention to the language customers are using. Consider a website builder customer base who uses the phrase “ghost town” to refer to their sites that aren’t getting the traffic they desire. Instead of simply saying, “It’s frustrating not to get traffic,” say, “I know it’s frustrating when your site feels like a ghost town.”

Describe the benefits in a concrete manner

Talking about benefits in abstract terms with vague adjectives and adverbs doesn’t grab customers’ attend. Describing benefits in specific, concrete terms makes them easier for customers to remember, increasing the chances that they’ll buy the product. Instead of claiming that you’ll reduce their shipping expenses significantly, state that you’ll reduce their shipping expenses by an average of 25%.

Highlight the unique elements of the product

When you discuss the general benefits of your product category, you may convince customers to buy the product. However, they might choose a competing product over one of your own because they don’t understand how the products are different. Instead of claiming that your software makes employees more productive, state that companies report an average 45% decrease in costs, which is twice the industry average.

Many marketers make the mistake of discussing product features at length, leaving it to the customers to figure out the benefits. Customers don’t buy products because of their features. They buy them because the believe that the features offer some sort of benefit. Don’t leave customers guessing. Spell out the benefits explicitly, using vivid language that emphasizes the unique, concrete advantages of the product at hand.