Benefits Rule

Imagine for a moment that you are attending a marketing session in which there are no properties. Rather, each attendee brings with them a basket of benefits to a potential transaction. They attend the meeting for the sole purpose of marketing the benefits specific to their baskets.

Merriam-Webster defines the word benefit as a thing that helps, provides happiness, or is helpful to a person or thing. Examples of benefits derived from various real estate properties include cash flow, appreciation, tax shelter, safety, management-free ownership, financial freedom, more free time, peace of mind, etc.

In a recent Society of Exchange Counselor (S.E.C.) National Marketing Meeting, it was noted that such a unique approach to deal making has been utilized on an experimental basis in Southern California and in other parts of the country.

Why would anyone approach a deal in such a manner without first identifying the properties to be bought, sold, or exchanged? To answer this question, one must think in reverse.

The key to a successful deal is for each participant to walk away with the majority of his or her wants and needs satisfied and for the majority of the people to feel happy with the outcome.

After the benefits in each basket are clearly identified and catalogued, a transaction can be structured by simply matching the various benefits with the needs and wants of the individuals who wish to participate in a transaction.

At the conclusion of this exercise, each participant will hypothetically walk away with a basket of benefits, having exchanged their original basket for new baskets containing the benefits that more closely reflect their needs and wants.

As a final step, participants go to the marketplace or to a marketing session and identify the properties that fulfill the desired benefits of each party. Then, they replace their baskets with these properties.

Why go through this exercise at all? Often, we get caught up in the details, minutia, or hype of property details. Additionally, we can get caught up in the personalities of the sellers, buyers, or brokers. When this happens, egos take over and the prevailing attitude is that the deal must close at all costs. The fundamental reason we are considering a transaction in the first place is to secure the benefits that we are seeking. This exercise helps insure that we stay strictly focused on the benefits that made us consider the transaction in the first place.

In conclusion, clearly understanding one’s needs, one’s wants, and the benefits sought is critical in deal making. Strictly focusing on these factors without distraction will help insure that quality, satisfying transactions will be the result.


  1. John:
    What a great way to put it. We all know the difference between features and benefits but a feature is just something that sometimes creates a benefit. In Win/Win transactions, it is the benefits that rule.

  2. John. Excellent points! Every property provides a basket of benefits but without excellent counseling the client’s needed or desired basket of benefits is unknown. As a broker this counseling is what is necessary to find a transaction that will close.

  3. Hey John, That was a really nice article. It’s so easy to get caught up in everything but the benefits. Thanks for writing and bringing us back to focus.

  4. A good quality piece John. Worthy of review prior to client interactions.

    Especially if you are your client.

    Thank you for sharing.

  5. John:

    Thank you for clarifying the counseling process. If it is okay with you, I will use this definition on my radio show tomorrow. From proper counseling, you should arrive at your clients needs, wants and benefits sought. Three critical things in making a deal!

    Thank you,

  6. John,

    Great article. A famous rock n roller once said, “Give the people what they want!”. If we focus on giving out benefits, we will assuredly reap many benefits in return for our clients.