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
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.