By Tim Rooney
My mother used to tease me whenever I hurt myself. She said I was overly dramatic in my carrying on of “owws” and “ohhhs.” Maybe it was a tactic to make me laugh – to ease the pain. Most times it worked. Except when it really hurt. When it really hurt I didn’t think she was very funny at all. And I sure didn’t think it was up to her to measure how much pain I was really in anyway. I mean, how could she know?
Getting to the root of objection
When it comes to making a sale you have to sift through a lot of problems before you can get to the root: the pain. Perhaps you’re sifting through price oppositions or busy schedules? Indecision-makers or budgetary constraints? Whatever you’re selling, it’s a solution. The fact is you can’t provide solutions without really understanding the problem. And every problem is rooted in pain.
Why pain is important
It would be careless of a doctor to diagnose before giving a full exam. In sales it’s equally careless to focus on you/your product/your company when you should be focused on your prospect. In general it demonstrates a lack of concern, and without knowing the pain you can’t prescribe the remedy. Unlocking the pain creates a simple connection between your prospect’s problem and your benefit.
The sore spot: what causes pain?
If you can get to the pain of your prospect you can establish a relationship of value. One where your client feels heard and allows you to deliver results that matter. The challenge is getting there. Because it takes relentless pursuit and a boldly direct approach. My advice: get direct; it saves everybody a lot of time. Ask questions. If they are looking for a new provider, what was wrong with the previous one? If they insist on bottom line pricing, find out why.
How to spot pain
If you’re like me you tend to make your pain heard. Others try to hide their pain. Spotting pain is easier than you think. Just listen for incongruent statements. For example:
Prospect: Sales in our LED signage department have been declining steadily in the last two years.
Sales: Is that so? Why do you think that is?
Prospect: It’s because the bulbs we use are poor and keep failing in stormy weather conditions.
Sales: Have you considered switching to a more reliable bulb provider?
Prospect: Yes, but it’s not in the budget.
Back to the question:
Can you put a price on pain? Ultimately only the person in pain can tell you how much it hurts. If the pain is fresh it might be at the top of their mind. But often the pain has gone on so long it’s more like a dull ache they’ve learned to live with. Putting a price on pain is a good way to push an issue out of contradiction and into decision. You can help by identifying missed opportunities and applying cost estimations. Note that not all cost can be measured in dollars but measurable losses can be deduced down to sense.