Targeted Learning Tip:
The “So What?” Technique for Squeezing Core Benefits Out of Your Product’s Features

From Michael Masterson in AWAI’s Masters Lesson #2:

“The Core Buying Emotion is the best phrase I could come up with to describe the fundamental emotion that drives the sale.

Don't mistake this for a simplistic idea. It's a simple idea (as most of my best ideas are), but like all the best simple ideas, this is hard to grasp fully and is easy to misunderstand.

The emotion that drives the sale is almost never a pure emotion. It's like a massive, fiery comet. It's not a rock. It's not a ball of fire either. It's a conglomerate – a tidy bundle of rock, dust, ice, and other trace elements it has picked up along its way.

And these trace elements, although small in proportion to the other components, give the comet its uniqueness … give us a better, deeper understanding of this thing we call a comet.

And so it is with the core emotion. You need to understand that you're dealing with a complex mixture of emotions, not just one single, isolated emotion, and that each of these emotions carries with it different ideas, feelings, and beliefs. Some of these are very obvious … some almost undetectable.

And it's these nearly undetectable elements – these quirky, trace elements that strike at the core of your prospect – that unveil his deeply rooted desires.”

Wow … that’s very powerful. Michael then goes on to explain his “simple” concept more fully … and helps you learn how to discover your prospect’s core desires as only he can. I highly recommend you get your hands on it.

Today, however, I’m going to give you a very simple exercise to help get you started digging deeper into your prospect’s psyche to get to his core buying emotion.

I call it the “So what?” technique.

Let’s say you’re selling a car that has a 345 horsepower engine. That, of course, is one of its features. Important for supporting the sale, but very few people will respond to it if presented this way.

So you ask yourself “So What?” The answer: this car will accelerate quickly and safely.

That’s a surface benefit.

“So What?” you ask yourself AGAIN. The answer: If the car accelerates quickly and safely, you’ll be able to get where you’re going on time … and keep your family – and anyone else who’s in the car – safe.

That’s a deeper benefit.

“So What?” you ask yourself once more. The answer: Well, you’re getting places on time and your family is safe when they travel with you. You really are a responsible adult and a good parent.

Ah, there’s a core benefit!

You’re showing your prospect how the product you’re selling will have a far reaching and positive impact on his life or the way he sees himself.

And now the final question.

How do you know you’ve nailed your core benefit? When asking “So what?” no longer yields any deeper understanding of your prospect.

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Published: March 20, 2007

2 Responses to “Targeted Learning Tip: The “So What?” Technique for Squeezing Core Benefits Out of Your Product’s Features”

  1. So simple. And I realize that simple doesn't mean easy. You really need to understand the person you are marketing to.

    KathPooleOctober 11, 2011 at 4:43 pm

  2. I agree completely. Mistakes are a part of life, how we learn. As a youth I was castigated by short sighted relatives about making a mistake. These people I found out later to be extremely limited.

    Joe the ThirdJuly 3, 2018 at 12:13 pm


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