Despite of the advances made in sales, there are some things and some sales professional who are still stuck in the Stone Age. I t amazes me that even in these days of Sales 2.0, or are we now in Sales 2.0.23, which ever, why people still seek to deal in pain. Time and time again, when I ask groups of sales people what their objective is during the Discovery process, a majority of them will respond by say “I want to find their pain!” Really, how sad, but not surprising.
I know back in the early 1990′s Bosworth talked about the pain, latent pain in selling, the who image of the hair challenged buyer. I remember one fellow who was a “solutions consultant” describing his craft as being “to find the soft underbelly of the buyer, stab, and then offer up the cure.” Nasty, I have to wash my hands. I am back, I thought we have made advances since, being a bit more customer centric and all. Yet many still want to deal in pain, rather than leaving that to the professional in Washington and Wall St.
I would much rather deal in opportunity, rather than devising question to kick my prospects in his declining assets, I would much rather spend time finding out where his opportunities are, his objective are and fit into a picture that helps them achieve exactly that. Now let’s understand each other right from the front here, I am not saying to stay away from pain, if it is there, if the opportunity is driven by a pain they are trying to avoid deal with it. If their objective is to change something that is not working, help them. Just don’t go in there looking for pain, go in looking at what the objectives are and base you interaction on that.
By focusing on their current circumstances, where they are, and where they want to be, you will find opportunity. If that is rooted in positive things, that is just as good as something that stems from a negative circumstance. I have a client a leader in their industry, one that most people despise because they seem to make money not matter what the market conditions are. When you talk to them, they have no pain, they are intoxicated with success, their focus is how to maintain and extend their competitive advantage and lead. They invest in sales training because they know it is a key element of their success. I train their people to execute on the company’s vision, which is not based on pain, nor is it painful. The last thing they want their sales teams focusing or even thinking about is pain, they want their sales teams to go out and spread success to their customers so they can make more money. Do anyone of us think that if their teams went out seeking to find pain they would be perceived as being genuine or a contributing partner.
The goal is to develop a set of questions that help you understand where the buyer is, what their objectives are, and what the opportunities based on the above. One last factor to consider, I find that a buyer who is n pain, tends to grip his wallet a lot tighter than those who pursuing a positive objective, because they already know the pay-off before you ever have to sell them.
What’s in Your Pipeline?