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How To Find Pain Points

How to find pain pointsHow to find pain points is one of the basic sales questions we need to answer. We know what they are, and we know they are not features or benefits. But how do we get them?

The great thing about how to find pain points is that they are not difficult to find. We merely have to uncover them. Yes, they really are out there, like a good-for-you vegetable resting just under the surface.

Pain points are specific to their niche. Similarities and crossovers may exist from one niche to another, but terminology will change. Remain aware of this. You cannot simply carbon copy a pain point over to a new niche.

It's as simple as this: prospects will tell you the pain points. However, it takes time.

How To Find Pain Points the Easy Way

You have to be willing to begin badly. Realize that your first several days--probably the initial week if you're dialing an hour a day, and perhaps even two--will be purely for discovering pain points. Want faster results? Make more dials. This is the barrier of effectiveness: most people give up after a couple hours of calling. But the payoff if you commit is tremendous.

When you start, you'll begin with a "good enough" script. Your best guess for what may work. Pick a niche and stick with it. Some prospects won't want to talk, and that's fine; there are always people who don't want to or aren't able to talk. We know this from our industry standard stats:

- half the people you call won't be available

- half of the people who pick up the phone can't actually talk right now.

But of those who do pick up and can talk, some of them will want to help you with how to find pain points. Some people are just plain helpful. Others want to puff out their chests and be the expert. Either one is good for you.

You won't have to fight. Keep your ears open. Listen to what prospects are telling you. Eventually you're going to realize you've heard what this prospect just said before. Write that phrase down. Write it down exactly the way they said it. Notice the terminology. And over the next few days, you'll hear that same thing again and again. When you are told the same thing by three or more decision makers in that industry, you have the makings of a pain point.

"I'm sick and tired of metal fabrication subcontractors promising to meet our delivery dates to get the order, and then failing to do so. That screws up all the inspections and the schedule of all the trades that follow them in."

"Yeah, we gave a few jobs to a fab shop and their work is good, but they keep missing delivery dates. That really causes me a lot of trouble. I get penalized by the developer. The city inspectors and finishing carpeters hate my guts."

"I might consider trying you, but there's a question I have: can you deliver when you say you will?"

This is an example of a series of things you might here--and I did hear--when prospecting for a metal fabrication shop. You can see the common thread. You can also pick out some of the specific industry terms. The pain point is right there.

The No-Risk Way of How To Find Pain Points

Here is a way to uncover pain points without disturbing your target market:

Call the same niche, but in a different geographic area.

Yes, you may miss something that's different about your local area, but you'll get enough to start having good conversations.

Once you get the decision maker on the line, ask: "I'm not sure if you can help me, but I'm trying to find out about the experience (their niche) has had with (your type of company). Have you worked with one?"

Eg. "I'm trying to find out about the experience building contractors have had with metal fab shops. Have you worked with one?"

If they have a story to share, they will.

Then ask them what the worst experience they've had with one was. And then the best.

Yes, the best. Good experiences can be turned around into pain points. Just reverse the situation...if you can actually accomplish the end result.

An Example of How To Find Pain Points

I had a client in Florida who worked all day. He got out of the office at 5PM local time. Obviously we couldn't call locally, so we picked roofers in Colorado. Within a dozen dials, he had the marketing manager of a medium-sized roofing company on the line. Just out of niceness, she spent twenty minutes sharing with him the specifics of the roofing industry in Colorado. I pulled six pain points out of that conversation. It was easy. Now we had our way of starting great conversations with prospects.

Now this may sound simple. And it is. But when making sales calls, most people are concerned with what they are going to say rather than listening to what the other person is saying. I am asking you to keep listening in mind. What is the prospect actually saying?

The information is out there. You simply have to be willing to put in the time and effort, which is not massive and yet has a huge payoff, to uncover it.

>> Want Jason's help to figure out your pain points? Email me at jason@jasonkanigan.com | Did this article help you? Please Like, Share or Comment to let others know. And Follow this blog to receive new articles in your email with the big red button! <<

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Pain Points: Back to the Basics

Pain PointsPain Points are a straightforward yet vital tool to sale success. When a sale has been achieved but the salesperson is unsure why, you can be certain at least one pain point was accidentally hit upon and was responsible.

We've been looking at buyer personas the last few days, and that is a pretty advanced selling topic. You have to have a number of elements of your sales plan worked out before you get to that point. So today we'll go back to the basics. Pain points are typical problems, or symptoms of problems, that your solution resolves for customers. When you get these right, they accelerate credibility, trust and speed in the sales process. Unfortunately, most people in sales roles only know about features and benefits. These are not pain points. And this is why the large majority of selling efforts are ineffective.

The Difference Between Features, Benefits and Pain Points

A feature is a noticeable factor about your product or service. For instance, it's red. Or delivery is guaranteed within one hour.

A benefit is an improvement or advantage the customer gets because of one or more features. Examples: their new red Ferrari gets a lot of attention, or the kids are fed a hot and tasty pizza without a long wait--and the parents don't have to do any cooking.

None of these things are pain points, however.

A transformation must happen. A certain ordering of the words and specific terminology are required. Consider: when the language of the prospect is used--jargon from their individual niche--what does that communicate? That the salesperson truly understands the prospect's world. This is precisely what gives us instant credibility. When the salesperson sounds like the prospect, rapport and trust can develop much more quickly.

Example Pain Points

So what would be a pain point for our sports car buyer?

They realize they're getting older, and worry they're less attractive to the opposite sex than they were in earlier years.

Of course, you would want to soften this language so it has less harsh impact upon the prospect. And you could even ask it as a series of negative reverse selling questions: "I see you're admiring our 458. ...You probably haven't thought about how many heads this will turn when you cruise by?" ... "You seem to be a mature guy who appreciates this kind of quality. I don't suppose you've had the chance to follow luxury sports cars long?" This can easily lead us into a discussion uncovering the age of our prospect, and their self-image.

And for the pizza-buying moms and dads?

They want quiet, happy kids with full bellies, NOW.

For an example with industry-specific terminology, here's one from my days of running a metal fab shop in the mid-2000s:

I work with building contractors who are upset fab subs have constantly missed their delivery dates, pushing back the completion schedule of all the other trades and inspections.

Incidentally, I got two points down for that niche. After I achieved that, every single builder I called with those two bits of information gave me an order. Every one. It may have been a $100 order for custom plasma cut bathroom keychains, as one architect's office requested; but it also may have been an $8000 staircase railing for a high-end new home. Our problems became operational rather than sales-related. A whole new ballgame.

Can you see now why it's so important to niche down, and stick with it? In a relatively short time, typically a couple of weeks, you can develop the right language to create immediate credibility in the mind of your prospect. And then they're much more open to having a dialogue with you. The secret, which you know if you've been following me for awhile, is that great conversations lead to sales. And you also probably know that most prospecting calls are begun so badly there is no rest of the call. You want as many great conversations with qualified prospects as possible. But these dialogues are not easy to get. Bad salespeople have made prospects put up a wall of skepticism. The language we use at the start of the call can help us overcome this barrier.

Next time, we'll discuss how to figure out what the pain points are for the niche you're calling into.

>> Want Jason's help with figuring out your market's pain points? Email jason@jasonkanigan.com to let me know. | Did this help you? Please Like, Share or Comment to let others know. Also, you can Follow this blog with the big red button, or sign up on the right. Thanks! <<

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Features and Price

Features and price have a weird sales connection:

When you start talking about features, your prospect starts thinking about price.

If all you talk about is features, you sound like every other seller in your marketplace.

So if you want to stand out in a crowded market, here's how to do it:

Talk about something else.

features and price

A decade ago I was business development manager for a full service IT firm back in Vancouver. The copy for our website talked about how we "understood your business" if you were a client and didn't "just talk techie jargon." I was real happy with it until I saw a few competitor sites.

Darn it.

We were all saying the same things. Nothing was there that helped us stand out. Back to the drawing board.

Move the Sales Conversation Off Features and Price

If you're in web design, don't talk about web design.

If you're in car sales, don't talk about cars.

If you're in marketing consulting, don't talk about marketing.

Chiropractors who aren't making any money talk about cracking backs at chiropractor conferences.

Poor web designers talk about web design when they get together.

People who aren't making money at the thing talk about the thing.

Don't talk about features. You won't stand out.

Don't talk about features. You'll induce your prospect to start thinking about price.

When a prospect has nothing to compare you to others on than technical features, all their decision comes down to is price.

They don't have anything else to make that decision on, do they. They don't know about anything else.

Do you want gearheads as clients?

Maybe you do. You know, the person who always has to be right about this or that technicality. The one who will question your every move. The one you have to keep making the sale to as you go, because they know better than you despite you being the expert they hired.

That's who you'll attract if all you talk about is features.

Stop Making Your Prospect Think About Features and Price

Stand Out by taking about something else. Something different than what every boring, cookie cutter version of you is talking about in the industry.

Talk about your branding. Talk about your experiences. Talk about who you've helped.

Talk about pain points. Talk about success stories. Talk about results.

Talk about anything else than the dull, unexciting pabulum everyone else in your field is tone-deafly reciting.

In my case with the IT firm, I went back to the drawing board and started talking about client success stories instead. This filtered for the right kind of managed services and custom programming clients.

>> Jason Kanigan is a conversion expert and business strategist. To book a call with Jason to discuss your business, click here.