For decades, sellers have been instructed to “find the pain!” We’ve been trained, almost like doctors, to diagnose our customers’ pains; “Does it hurt here? What about when I do this? How often do you experience it? Is it most severe after a poor earnings report?
Once we and the customers have diagnosed the pain, we prescribe a solution.
But there are real problems with this concept.
The most superficial, is that we are looking for “pains” where our solution resolves their pain. Using the medical analogy, if I have a constant cough, is buying cough drops the right diagnosis, i might have something more severe underlying the cough. We do the same thing, we undertake diagnosis with an agenda.
And then I think of the “pain” customers express in dealing with sellers focused only on their solutions….
But more important, is “pain” the way customers think of things? Are they looking to solve for the pain, or are they looking at a new opportunity, a change, perhaps doing something differently. They may have problems, but do they describe their problems in the language of “pains,” or are they things they need to change/improve. And thinking in terms of “pain,” increases the apprehension in the customer.
Do they even recognize the opportunity, the need to change, or that they could be doing something better? If they are unaware of these things, they may think they are doing well. They wouldn’t have pain and would be unable to respond to our queries on their pains.
Rather than focusing on the pain, what if we helped them imagine new possibilities, or talk about their aspirations/dreams and how they might achieve them.
Perhaps if we focused on creating a better future with our customers, we inspire them to work with us in changing to achieve that better future.