Why We Buy – to Avoid PAIN!

Our innate drive to maintain our “comfort zone” directly affects

how and what we purchase. Pain versus pleasure, similarity

versus unfamiliarity and comfort versus stress; self inflected

or not, are all feelings and emotions that affect most facets

of our lives. How we deal with such emotion volatility directly

affects our motivations to buy things that make us feel better.

Humans prefer pleasure, avoid pain, seek familiarity and would

rather be comfortable than stressed out. Jack LaLane’s famous

exercise philosophy of the 1960’s, “No Pain, No Gain” does not

apply to most of us.

We all like things to be “just so”, always in line with our

expectations. Anything that rattles our comfort zone generally

leads to an action response, a reaction, immediate pursuit of

problem resolution. Herein lies a fundamental basis for sales

professionals to leverage our natural tendency to seek and

purchase things that help us avoid pain.

Selling is truly a Painful Process

Most selling situations involve collaborative problem or pain

definition between a salesperson and a buying prospect. The

sales representative ultimately attempts to educate the

potential buyer about how costly it is to them of NOT having

his product or service to eliminate their pains.

Many times in a buy/ sell situation the buyer does not know what

his pains are, just the symptoms of the pain. Typically he

knows he wants to rid himself of the pain but needs more

information from the sales person to determine what it will

cost him to do that. Cost manifests itself in many forms, time

commitment, effort to be made or monetary investment to solve

the problem.

Get Answers to These 5 Key Pain Questions

A skilled sales person must systematically qualify, or better,

DIS-qualify the buyer early in the discussion to find answers

to five basic questions:

1) What are the prospect pains? (They may not know!)

2) Can I, my product or service effectively eliminate

the pains defined?

3) Is the buyer truly motivated to eliminate his pains?

4) Does the buyer have the financial resources to proceed?

5) Who ultimately decides to apply the available financial

resources to these pains?

It is most logical that a sales representative must secure

answers to these five disqualification questions BEFORE they

decide to present their pain solutions, products, information

or services to the buying prospect.

This decision to delay presentation, to postpone the “sales

pitch”, contingent on systematic disqualification of the

prospect takes extraordinary discipline on the part of the

sales representative. Most average sales people immediately

jump into their presentation having no idea what really are the

prospect’s pains, if he’s motivated to fix them, can afford the

relief or whether he has the authority to make the purchase


Prospect “Pains” are not Unique

With a “pain definition” perspective incorporated in your

selling approach you will quickly realize that many of your

sales prospects have similar pains. You can categorize these

pains, define their most common causes and solutions, then

prepare in advance of your sales calls written or visual

selling tools specific to each common pain. Each selling tool

would be used only for a specific pain.

It is also natural for your prospects to have appreciation for

others who had similar problems as they have. Anything you can

do to document how you as a sales representative addressed

another person’s like pains with your products or services will

go a long way to justify their pending purchase. Written case

histories of successful application of your product or service

with previous customers are excellent selling tools.

Not “Features and Benefits” – It’s about PAINS!

So many sales technique training programs emphasize product or

service feature and benefit “selling”. As a potential buyer it

is nice to know all this, but prospects want the sales person

to first listen to and understand their problems; how long

they’ve had them, what its cost them and what they’ve done

already to try to fix them. A potential buyer needs to do this

first before they can fully appreciate any form of potential

pain relief. (Again, save your sales pitch and get answers to

the five fundamental pain questions defined here.)

Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, once said, “We will

do more to avoid pain than to gain pleasure”. This is

particularly true if we are fully involved in pain at the time.

With this prospect pain definition selling approach increases

in your sales results are certain, resulting in significant

pain relief for both the buyer AND the seller.