Pain Symptoms

Sometimes it’s easy.  Sometimes the prospect simply gives you a description of his problem on a silver platter (at least as he understands it).  But sometimes it’s not so easy.  When it’s not, you must be prepared to initiate the pain discussion to determine whether or not your prospect has an issue you can help him resolve.  A pain symptom is just the tip of the pain “iceberg.”  There’s a lot more beneath the surface of the water.

Pain Symptom Questions:  You might try a few of these questions to encourage your prospect to start telling you about his or her pain:

  • “What are the main concerns you’re having with respect to _________?”
  • “What challenges are you facing that a ___________ company like mine might be able to help you with?”
  • “Usually people come to us for help in one or more of the following areas (list 2-3 problems you solve for people).  Are any of these issues for you?”
  • “We do many things for our clients to help them improve the results of _______________.  So that I don’t run on about things that may not be of interest to you, why don’t you tell me which areas you might be concerned about.”
  • “When we set this appointment to discuss ___________, what kind of things were you hoping I would cover?”

When you ask questions like this, look for your prospect to make statements (pain symptoms) like:

  • “My sales are not where I want them to be.”
  • “Our current supplier is having problems with ___________.”
  • “We’re having trouble processing all this paperwork efficiently.”
  • “I don’t think I’ll be able to maintain my current lifestyle when I retire.”
  • “Our system crashes frequently.”
  • “We’re spending too much on ____________.”
  • “We’re not happy with ______________.”

“No is okay.”  This is your secret weapon. 

You must make it safe for your prospect to open up and have an honest dialogue with you without the fear of being “sold.”  This means that before you start asking questions about issues and challenges, you must tell the prospect that if, after your conversation, it doesn’t appear that there might be a good fit between your two companies, he should feel comfortable telling you that.

Enabling your prospect to say “no” to you without the fear of being pushed into buying will build trust and open the lines of communication – a key to selling successfully.

Self-Study Assignment:  Identify several good questions that you would feel comfortable using to start the pain conversation.  Practice them on your calls over the next few days to see how they work.  Make adjustments if necessary.