Search Results for: pain

You Can’t Find Pain by Email

You can transmit information by email. You can answer a quick question which does not require a complicated answer by email. And you can even submit a proposal by email. But you can’t find pain by email. One of the primary reasons is that people are reluctant to admit to emotional issues in writing unless it is in a diary and most of those are not meant to be seen by anyone. Another reason email pain finding does not work is that you cannot read the tonality and the body language of the prospect in an email. You cannot see how the prospect reacts to tough questions in an email and you cannot be sure that the answer you get by return email was crafted by the author and not by a colleague they conferred with. You are limited by how much you can say (that the prospect will read) in an email and you cannot insert your own tonality into the words to either soften the delivery of a tough question or to imply assuredness or any other modifier to the words you transmit. There are many other reasons but those mentioned herein should be enough to get you to pick up the phone and call the prospect.

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Be a Pain Seeking Missile

Sales calls sometimes get bogged down and go nowhere. Did you ever lose the thread of a conversation and end up having the conversation go in a direction that was not helping to move the pursuit along the way it should have? One way to combat that is to become a pain seeking missile. Just follow the pain where ever it leads, even if it seems like it is going nowhere. When you get to the real pain the prospect is more likely to act. Once you can get the prospect to open up and discuss what is really bothering them (at the deepest level) you will accomplish two things. First you will know what problem to work on solving and the prospect will more than likely move the ball forward. And second you will discover that you have a closer bond to the prospect. And the bonus is that if your missile fizzles without finding any pain, you can move on to a prospect who does.

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Back to the Debriefing Sheet

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Look For Personal Pain

Salespeople who only focus on the problem the organization is having can miss the factor that is most likely to motivate the prospect to take action or to authorize purchase of your product or service.  Prospects are motivated by personal pain more than merely a problem that needs to be solved. Personal pain can be defined as how the prospect feels about the problem at hand. The first step is to understand the problem of course. the second step is to uncover how the problem affects the person you are talking to. but the most important step is to get the prospect to share with you how he or she feels about how the consequences of the problem affect their life. A company may be less efficient because of an outdated CRM. However consider two separate situations one in which the VP of Operations is focused on upgrading the manufacturing equipment and another in which the President has just informed him that the slow CRM is costing thousands of dollars in lost sales and told him his job is on the line if he doesn’t get it fixed. In which case does the CRM salesperson have a better chance of making sale? Yet most salespeople fail to uncover the real motivation and focus on show how good the CRM system will perform. The winner will be the one who gets to the real issue – the VP’s job security.

Pain Varies Over Time

detourThe world is a dynamic place and things change from day to day. Just think about your own company and your own life today compared to last quarter or last year. If your life and your perspective changes so much why would you think that the prospects life and perspective would be any different? When things change in the prospects life, their view of your product and the urgency to make a purchase will also change. When their situation changes, that change will have a major impact on whether you can close the sale and how and when you should close the sale. The fact that the situation can change mandates that you stay abreast of the latest developments. When you go in to make a presentation or have a follow up meeting, make sure that you verify that things haven’t changed dramatically since your last meeting before you proceed. You can read more about it here.

Top 3 reasons pain is NOT enough to make the sale


Many people say that if you know the prospect’s pain you can make a sale. That is not always true. In many cases the prospect has gotten used to the pain and therefore does not act. This can be frustrating to the salesperson who knows the prospect needs what she has and has an obvious problem with some major consequences but won’t act. Many times the inexperienced salesperson resorts to pressure which can cause the prospect to resist even more. You need to recognize that pain is a necessary but not always a sufficient reason to make a sale. Here are the top three reasons that jumping to the close from the pain discussion will not work.

  1. MONEY – The salesperson fails to discuss money with the prospect. The prospect may have a lot of pain but with no money available to address the problem, the sale is not completed. It is also possible that in this scenario the prospect suffers sticker shock when they see the price and sends them into a comparison shopping mode to check the validity of the price. This seldom ends well for the salesperson who first met the prospect.
  2. URGENCY – the prospect my have pain but no compelling reason to do it NOW. Without discussing a timeframe when the project needs to be done, the sale will drag on and may die of old age as the prospect eliminates the pain in some other way.
  3. AUTHORITY – Even though the prospect may have pain, they may lack the authority too do anything about it. This usually means that the salesperson started too low in the organization and may need to adjust their target client description.

Make sure there is Urgency

Pain is not enough to get a sale. The prospect must also have some urgency to fix the pain. If you don’t know when the prospect needs the problem fixed, you have not really gotten the prospect to share a compelling reason to buy. You have just identified a problem. As any homeowner knows, there are many things that are annoying around a house and “need” to be fixed. But the average homeowner does not fix everything as soon as it becomes known that it is not exactly as it should be. You can tolerate a leaky faucet even though it is annoying, and it is costing you money. There is no urgency to fix that especially if you are not skilled with certain tools. However, if a pipe bursts and water is spewing everywhere, there is urgency to do something about it immediately. So, when you are on a sales call do not be satisfied with uncovering the problem or pain. Make sure you determine whether the prospect has enough urgency to solve the problem before you count it as qualified.

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Call Old Clients

Old clients can be hidden nuggets of gold in your database. Or they can become like ghosts … hidden and unseen. Be a ghost-buster. Call those old clients just to catch up. You don’t have to ask if they need to buy anything. Just catch-up on what is going on at the company. There will be personnel changes, changes processes, new products, etc. gathering information may yield some new pain that has arisen that you might be able to help with. This sales tip is not any more complicated than that. Call them. Talk to them. Stuff will happen. It is better than making cold calls and it is a great way to bust out of a slump and get the ball rolling again.

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Analyze Risk when you in a Selling Situation

Analyzing risk is an important element of assessing the prospects compelling reason to buy. It is often a negative factor meaning that the more risk there is from the client’s perspective the lower the possibility that they will buy from you. Risk is often a personal pain. Prospects may think “I can’t afford to make a mistake.” Or they may think that it “is wise to take the safe choice”. Many times, they will not know how to articulate the risk and they may not even be aware of their own fear. But the risk is there none the less. The job of the salesperson is to ask about it and force the discussion even if the prospect does not want to discuss it. So, the lesson is to analyze the risk yourself and get the prospect to discuss it even if the prospect tries to avoid it. And it goes without saying that sometimes the risk factor works in your favor, especially if you are the name brand or the incumbent. If that is the case you should be able to command a higher price … but that is the topic for another video.

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Effectiveness vs Efficiency

You can save time in sales by getting two decision makers in the room at the same time. That is much more efficient than seeing them one at a time. But it is not always the most effective way to handle a sales call. Suppose the two decision makers, both senior VP’s, are being considered for the position of CEO and you get them in a room to discuss your project which is a new software installation. Do you think either one of them will want to open up and tell you all the problems they are having with their rival sitting there listening to every word? I think not. What if I added the HR VP to the mix? In that case it is even less likely for them to open up. You are more likely to get posturing and platitudes than any true expression of the pain they might be in. I had it happen to me. The CEO was willing to move ahead with any training that either one of the VP’s felt they needed. He then called them both into his office together and asked them what they thought the biggest problem with their teams was. One of the VP’s asked if I could meet him privately and the other stated he had no problems that he could think of. The CEO then proceeded to say, “I’ll tell you what the problems are …” and listed several things the VP and his team were not doing. That VP pushed back and got into an argument with his CEO. He was so embarrassed he never wanted to see me again. That’s when the other VP asked to see me privately and he signed up for me to train him and his team. I learned my lesson and never let myself get in that position again.

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