They say people buy based on emotion; to alleviate or avoid some sort of pain. The challenge for salespeople is to find that pain. Sometimes it is very clear and other times it is hidden.

Unfortunately, many salespeople don’t understand this. They believe that EVERYONE needs or wants what they have to sell. It’s merely up to them to get the word out. They lead with their product or service – its features and benefits. They spend the sales call talking instead of asking and listening. These salespeople believe that they have to share every piece of information about their product/service to make sure that they SELL the prospect. Then they’re surprised when the prospect goes in a different direction.

Think about this for a moment. Haven’t you experienced this from a salesperson at some point? Whether as a consumer, or in your business, you’ve most likely been confronted by a salesperson who came to the table unloading all of the aspects of their company, product, and service. You probably couldn’t even got a word in. They just kept talking, showing you pictures, telling you their tale. You might have been subject to a powerpoint presentation or demonstration.

Do you remember how that felt? Not great! And do you know why? Because you were given an opportunity to be heard. The salesperson showed no interest in finding out about your needs, your pain. He or she was so wrapped up in their own story that they never thought to ask you yours. It doesn’t work this way. It can’t be all about the product/service and not about the prospect.

The sales process is a search for pain. You are searching for those prospects who have a problem your product/service can solve. First, you identify suspects – people/companies you think might need or want what you have to offer. This is target marketing. You’ve determined what the value of your product or service is. Then you decided who your target markets are.

Your next step is to learn as much as you can about them. When you get a chance to meet with them – ask questions. This is the point where you are trying to uncover their true pain. The key to success at this point is listening. It’s important to really hear what the person is telling you. Listen openly with no agenda. That way you’ll hear what they are saying – not what you want them to say. Don’t listen in terms of how you can help – just listen. One way to ensure you’ll listen more than talk is this – don’t take any sales literature with you to the meeting! Go with a pad and pen. Learn.

Once you’ve successfully found the real pain, determine whether your product/service can alleviate it. And be honest about it! Remember these critical points –
1. You don’t want to do business with everyone
2. You may or may not have a solution to that particular problem
3. You can still be of value by pointing them in a direction where they can get their problem solved.

Now that you’ve narrowed it down to those prospects who have a problem you can solve, explain to them how your product/service can help them alleviate their pain. Matching your product or service to the pain being experienced by the prospect is how you end up making the sale.

If you encounter someone you don’t want to do business with you can easily dislodge yourself by letting them know you can’t help them solve their problem. And when you identify prospects who have pains you can’t resolve, refer them to someone who can. They’ll love you for it. They’ll trust you. And even if they can’t do business with you, they’ll refer you because you were honest with them. They’ll send you people whose pain you can solve.

Author's Bio: 

Diane Helbig is an internationally recognized business and leadership development coach, author, speaker, and radio show host. As a certified, professional coach, president of Seize This Day Coaching, Diane helps businesses and organizations operate more constructively and profitably. Diane is the author of Lemonade Stand Selling, and the host of Accelerate Your Business Growth Radio show.