Successful telephone answering service marketing is hard. Many answering services make the mistake of promoting the features they offer. Instead they should focus their marketing message on the benefits their prospects want. As you develop your marketing materials, put yourself in the perspective of your prospects. Envision their needs and their wants. Then design your marketing pieces to address these issues. Here are three common reasons why people use a telephone answering service. Incorporate these into your marketing materials, and you will cover what’s important to most prospects. Expand Availability: Most answering services today operate 24/7. They mention this frequently online and in their marketing materials. Unfortunately 24/7 availability is a feature, not a benefit. The benefit that the feature of 24/7 coverage provides is expanded availability. That’s what your prospects want. They want to make themselves more available to their customers and prospects. They don’t care that you’re 24/7 as much as they want you to be available when their phone rings. Your service allows your clients to expand their availability to their customer base. This is a key reason why they hire you. As you allow them to be more available to their customers, you give them the means to serve their clientele better and to generate more revenue. And you do this by offering the benefit of expanded availability, not the feature of 24/7. Enhance Opportunities: Coupled with your clients’ desire to expand their availability is a wish to enhance connection opportunities. This can take three basic forms. The first, as mentioned above, is to expand their availability. That means handling their calls when their office is closed. A second way you can expand your clients’ connection opportunities is by being able to deal with traffic spikes and unexpected surges. Their in-house receptionist can only take one call at a time or maybe two by juggling callers. However, for one person to go beyond two calls things quickly become cumbersome. An answering service can address this by being able to take multiple calls at the same time. But handling simultaneous calls is a feature, not a benefit. So, what’s the benefit? Though this is for you to decide, one thought might be quickly answering their customers’ calls. A third way to expand your clients’ connection opportunities is by offering channels other than the phone, such as email, text, or social media messaging. Omnichannel, however, is a feature. Providing contact options is a benefit. Improve Customer Service: Most answering services don’t realize they improve their clients’ level of customer service. However, this is a benefit that prospects often seek. Clients know that with your answering service’s single-minded focus and professional, quality communication services, you surpass what they offer in-house. Be sure to market the benefit of improved customer service when you promote your answering service to prospects. Since we’re immersed in the answering service industry, it’s natural to talk about the features we offer. While this is an understandable result, it isn’t the best language to use when talking with prospects. Remember, prospects seek benefits. They’ll be less inclined to hire you based on the features you offer and more likely to hire you based on the benefits you provide, especially those that address their key felt needs: expand availability, enhance opportunities, and improve customer service. Focus on what they focus on, and make more sales. Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider for the call center and telephone answering service industry. Contact Janet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-901-7706. Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan and a longtime member of the TAS industry.