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5 Steps to Uncovering Your Prospect’s Pain

January 29, 2014

I often hear salespeople use some standard questions when trying to uncover a prospect’s pain.  These questions can sometimes infuriate a buyer and put up a wall that blocks their communication.  Questions like:

“What’s your biggest challenge?”  Or “What keeps you up at night?”

These are hackneyed questions and, as a client, it requires that I truly trust my salesperson before I would respond.  It’s especially difficult to get a prospect to share their pain during a cold call, but it’s vital to uncover your prospect’s problem in order to continue the conversation.

So, what is pain anyway?

Personally, I don’t like the term “pain”.  It’s too limiting.  People buy for many reasons.  Do you always have to have pain in order to buy?  Do you have to create pain in order to sell?

What’s the difference in buying a new Mercedes or buying a new water heater?  The motivators are completely different.  Trust me there is usually very little pain involved in choosing to buy a Mercedes.  But when buying a new water heater it’s typically because there is at least some discomfort or necessity involved.  Why do we buy insurance?  To avoid the pain of disaster

In order to sell, you need to get your prospect to talk about their issues and you need to uncover their motivators.  Here are some tips to help you to get your clients to talk to you.

Tip 1- Stop talking about Features and Benefits

Features and benefits never sell a product or service.  They should only be part of the solution once you’ve discovered your clients’ problem or motivator.  Once you’ve discovered the client’s true issue and motivator, you’ll know best which features and benefits fit.

Tip 2- Tell stories of other clients with problems

Example: Other clients have complained about….

People like to identify with other people’s problems.  Get your clients talking about a problem someone else has and they are more likely to tell you about their problems.

Tip 3- Ask for feedback.

Example:  I’ve been studying a situation that some of my clients are dealing with.  I understand that _____ can be a problem.  How are you or your company dealing with this problem?

People also like to solve other people’s problems, let them be an authority in their industry.  It helps you build trust.  If they are having the same problem, perhaps they can tell you how they’re handling it and if the problem is being resolved well.

Tip 4- Listen

Listening effectively means not interrupting your prospect by inserting solutions before they finish telling you the whole story.  When they pause in the conversation, nod in agreement.  Say you understand, but give them another opening to continue the conversation and pay attention to the clues for their motivators.

Tip 5- Dig a little deeper.

Uncovering just one problem may not result in you offering the right solution.  Here are some more probing questions.

  1.  How did you resolve this issue or is still some concern?
  2. Tell me more.
  3. Is there anything else?
  4. Does this directly affect your job?
  5. Can you paint a picture of the ideal solution?
  6. How would resolving this issue feel?


Discovering your prospects motivators mean you have to get your prospects to talk.  So try conversations that let your client take the lead.   Then listen and discover.

To find more ways to uncover your client’s pain contact me.

From here hopefully you have a good sense on whether your solution fits their problem, fear or desire.

If you would like to learn more or find out how Sales Coach AZ can help you or your company achieve sales success, please contact me at or call at 480-656-3565.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 15, 2014 2:58 am

    Reblogged this on bigdifferenceoflife.

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