Pitching? Focus on benefits, not features

Take a page from the ‘Mad Men’ playbook and sell the feeling that the product or service will deliver, not the number of bristles in the brush.

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Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm) is the show’s caddish anti-hero, a 1960s ad executive. When he’s not engaged in a spectacular act of self-sabotage provoked by his messy personal life, no one can pitch a product better.

Don Draper’s greatest strength as an advertising pitchman is his deep understanding of the emotion behind the products he’s pitching. Here’s a clip from the show’s first season. In it, Draper is pitching his ad concept for the new “slide wheel” to two executives from Kodak.

Imagine if Draper had done what so many people in business do—pitch the features instead of the benefits. A feature-heavy pitch would have sounded more like this:

“Kodak’s ‘Wheel’ can hold 80 slides, the most in the marketplace. It allows you to go backward and forward, project on any bare wall, and change the order of slides in mere moments. With Kodak’s ‘Wheel,’ you can go on vacation—and have your slides printed within 24 hours of dropping them off at a certified Kodak photo center.”

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