Everyone strives to get more pleasure in their life but as human beings we are far more motivated to alleviate pain. In fact, pain is our strongest human emotion. Understanding this concept is critically important if you want to be successful in sales. The best salespeople focus on finding and mitigating business and personal pain.
Here are four strategies that can make you more effective at finding pain:
1. Pain is NOT Need
Many people confuse need with pain. Need is a condition or situation in which something is required or wanted. Pain is acute mental or emotional distress to a problem or situation. When someone says that they need a solution to a problem you are just scratching the surface. Many salespeople ask a few introductory questions and then move right to presenting their solution. You need to help the prospect clearly identify the underlying pain this problem is causing before discussing ways you may be able to help.
2. Quantify the Pain
Numbers mean everything in business. Help the prospect quantify the cost of the pain. In many cases the answer to this question is not obvious. It’s not just about the money; the cost can be represented in many different ways from lost productivity to loss of revenue and profits. Your job in sales is to help the prospect discover the true impact of the problem and the pain associated with it.
3. Ask Questions
The only way to help the prospect discover their pain is to ask a series of probing questions in order to get at the root of the problem. When a prospect identifies a problem, dig deeper and ask how long they have had the problem, what have they tried to do to fix it and how has the problem impacted them and their business. This questioning technique will help you unearth the prospect’s pain. The Sandler rule is “selling isn’t telling, selling is asking questions.”
4. Is There a Commitment to Fix the Pain
There are two questions I always encourage salespeople to ask a prospect when developing pain: Are you and your organization committed to fixing the problem and if so, are you committed to fixing the problem now? I have been amazed at how many times I have gotten a “yes” to the first question and a “no” to the second. Many people live with pain everyday but aren’t really committed to fixing it. Knowing the answer to both questions will help you understand if this is a real customer and if you should spend time with them now.
After you understand the prospect’s pain you will be better able to present a customized solution. Helping the prospect discover their pain and the implications of not fixing it is one of the most important jobs in sales. What we have found is that people will generally change when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing.