This shouldn't be so hard but time and time again you see companies list features about their products but nothing about how it benefits their customers. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a feature as "a prominent part or characteristic" or "a special attraction" whereas benefits are defined as "something that promotes well-being" or a "useful aid".
Looking at this another way, the feature is what the product does whereas the benefit is how the feature helps them or why the customer should care about that particular feature. Even the most techy person among us, despite their strong objections, will buy benefits not features.
For example, listing the speed of the processor, the amount of memory, the resolution of the display, etc. are all features. The fact that you can do things faster, store more data, watch better quality videos are some of the benefits of the above. What do you think someone is more likely to buy, 16 GB of memory or the ability to store thousands of songs or photos?
Remember back when Apple launched the original iPod. The main marketing message was "1,000 songs in your pocket". Benefit. No mention of the size of the hard drive in the unit which is the feature that made this possible. Do you think the iPod would be where it is today, if Apple had talked about a 5GB MP3 player? (OK, I can hear the objections already, there was more to the iPod success than this tag line but it played a key role. Everyone understood how the iPod would help them.)
So here's how you develop the benefits of your product or service. Believe it or not, you start with the features. Write down all the key features for your product and, if you need to, add a short explanation for each. Now, think about how each feature helps the user of your product. This is not why you think it's cool but how it helps your potential or existing customers. Does the feature help them do things faster, do more, save money, make them money, etc.?
But you're not done yet, these are pretty general statements that many can claim. Make these benefits more specific, for example, can you now store 10x as many photos, can you save 20%, can you make $10 per subscriber. Apple didn't just say you could take songs with you but it was 1,000 songs in your pocket which was a lot, at the time, if you think that a portable CD player, which was larger is physical size, held a single CD which had 10-15 songs. More songs, meant more CDs and more size.
And that comparison between the iPod and a CD player illustrates another step too. Once you have your first list of features. Look at your competitors (direct and indirect) to see if your benefits are significantly different and better. If your benefits are not 10x better or something they do not offer then think about another way to position that feature or maybe it doesn't make the list at all.
You're almost there, with the final step being to simplify the list and the language you use so the prospect can quickly and easily see how it helps them. Following this process, you should have 3-5 key benefits for your product. That's all you want to talk about. The features are now relegated to some spec sheet someplace for the techy that needs to know (There is a time and place for features).
Now was that really so hard? So why don't all companies do it?