The eyes you are reading this through have an ancillary body and muscle, anterior chamber filled with aqueous humour, cornea, vitreous body, macula, iris and retina. Unless you are a physician, I’ll bet the only terms you recognised are the last two. Why? It is enough for you to know that you need light for your eyes to see and therefore read. The aqueous humour has nothing to do with laughter. It is the fluid produced in the eye that keeps it lubricated. The iris is the coloured ring of tissue behind the cornea that regulates the amount of light entering the eye by adjusting the size of the pupil. Are you exasperated by this lesson about the features of the eye? Well, that’s how your lay buyer feels when you harp on about the features of the pump ad nauseam. About the fluid power output, power input to the shaft, volute of the centrifugal pump, the cross section of the liquid path, and on and on.
The many terms I’ve shared of the eye are its features; the regulatory function of the iris shows the benefit to you (adapting itself to the light) thus giving you value (letting you read in different shades of light).
To a lay person, the eye specialist will simply say, you need light for your eyes to see and the pupil (the centre of your eye) automatically adjusts itself to the amount of light present.
He will not belabour you with the complex process that produces sight. He will simply explain the value and the benefit, ignoring the features. On the other hand, if he is talking to fellow specialists, he will dwell on the latter.
As for the pump, all the lay buyer needs to know is that it will easily last him a decade, is powerful enough to pump water three floors high and typically fills up a 1500 litre tank is under an hour. No mention of a feature at all and the pitch is enough to progress the sale to a close while keeping the buyer engaged.
You’ve likely never bothered to decipher the font of the text you are currently reading but are just happy that it is pleasant to your eye. The font design is the feature; the easy to read is the benefit and the value to you is saving time by reading easily.
The feature is what the product is (this account has an all in one tariff); the benefit describes how the feature will meet the customer’s specific needs (which means that you will not have to be concerned about unexplained costs) and value is the tangible benefit to the customer (so you are able to easily manage your costs stress-free).
To the lay person, the trick is to reverse the pitch starting with value then benefit, and unless the feature is easily understood, ignoring it completely. Give it a shot.