No Pain = No Prospect!
According to sales expert Lenann McGookey Gardner, “If, when you leave a conversation with a prospect, you cannot answer the question, ‘What is that person’s Pain?’ you don’t have a prospect, no matter how long the conversation lasted.”
Sometimes, of course, the Pain is simply “I want to be ahead of my competitors.” But never forget: If there’s no Pain, you don’t have a prospect.
Gardner advises salespeople to focus on Pain rather than using the word “needs.”
“Whenever someone who’s selling me says, ‘I want to know your needs,’ I want to reply, ‘Food, clothing, and shelter. Which one do you want to help me with?’” says Gardner. “That sounds nasty, but the fact is, those are my needs. Philosophically, I think many people don’t know what they need when they’re talking with salespeople, especially when they’re talking with those of us who provide professional services.”
“They do know what hurts,” says Gardner. “And when I understand that, I may be able to suggest some things that will alleviate that Pain. While I don’t use the word ‘Pain’ when I’m talking with prospects, I am thinking in terms of ‘Where does this person hurt?’ and talking about that and the person’s specific problems or worries, during much of my selling time.”
If the person with whom you are speaking has no Pain in areas in which you might be able to assist, he or she is not a prospect. But before you conclude that no Pain exists, spend some time inquiring about your prospect’s situation.
Most people have Pain, though they may not reveal it easily, either because it hurts their ego to do so, or because they haven’t really focused on it or because they don’t trust you.
In the early stages of a sales conversation you attempt to uncover Pain. The middle stages are used to fully understand the Pain – how bad it is, how long the prospect has had it, and what it means to him (including, if applicable, what it’s costing him).
In the middle stages of a conversation, after you’ve uncovered some Pain, you’re listening to understand, not (yet) to be understood. (That’s Stephen Covey’s idea from the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Listen first to understand, then to be understood.”)
Explains Gardner, “What that means for us in selling is, until we understand our prospect’s situation fully, we should not be advocating that he buy anything! And we’re not keeping the conversation going by talking about ourselves, or our services or products, either, unless the prospect asks about us. Instead, we’re talking about the prospect’s Pain, and understanding that as completely as possible.”
Lenann McGookey Gardner is a Harvard MBA, an American Marketing Association “Professional Services Marketer of the Year” award winner, and a 2010 winner of the “Top Performing CEO” award from her state’s Business Weekly. She has two decades of experience helping services providers to grow their revenues and is the author of Got Sales? The Complete Guide to Today’s Proven Methods for Selling Services. She is also an Executive Coach. Learn more at www.YouCanSell.com.
Other press releases from Lenann McGookey Gardner Management Consulting, Inc.
- Test Your Leadership Qualities with YouCanLeadCoaching.com Quiz - August 26th, 2011
- How To Successfully Conduct Sales Follow-Up Phone Calls - August 16th, 2011
- The 90-10-90 Rule for Selling Successfully - August 3rd, 2011
- Lenann McGookey Gardner Now a Certified Speaking Professional - July 25th, 2011
- Can Scientists Learn How To Sell Their Services? - July 19th, 2011
Contact InformationLenann McGookey Gardner
Title: President/Executive Coach
Lenann McGookey Gardner Management Consulting, Inc.
11024 Montgomery Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87111
Alt. Phone: 505-250-3355
Additional ContactGail Rubin