Steven's Blog

No Pain Points, No Problems

What if your prospects and clients have no pain points and no problems?

Presumption of damage is never a good way to start a relationship with anyone, whether in business or otherwise.

Not long ago, I was working with a sales team to help improve their capability to ask questions when meeting with prospects. Without fail, during role plays when I played the customer, each one asked me variations of “Do you have any particular problems?”

When I responded, “No, we don’t have any particular problems,” each salesperson was flustered and did not know how to respond. Each one, after a few awkward exchanges, simply withdrew and promised to call again at a later date.

Salespeople often tell me they have been taught to look for “pain points” and “problems.” However, in my experience, customers rarely have them. In all the years I have been helping clients, only once did any of them ever have a problem, and it was a pretty serious one at that. Several people had died as a result; to say nothing of frequent accidents that had also occurred. However, companies with such problems are rare because most of them end up going bankrupt or being bought out by a company without problems.

If I were only to seek out clients with problems, I would likely have very few clients—if any at all. And I can tell from experience, clients with problems are usually hell to work with because the problem they have is a result of poor management or a leadership deficit that I have to deal with when working with them. So, it always surprises me when a salesperson prioritizes finding prospects with problems. Not only are they rare, but they are also the most difficult to work with.

The vast majority of companies I know don’t have problems at all and have achieved success. However, that is not to say that there is nothing that can’t be improved. The leader of every business I know without exception always has some aspect of the business he or she wants to change or improve and is frequently looking for any help or advantage to do so more rapidly and with a greater likelihood of success.

How would you feel if, when you enquired about a gym membership, the person in charge of membership sales immediately began asking you about your issues with obesity, injuries, or ailments requiring physical therapy? Granted, some people join gyms to fix these problems, but the vast majority of people simply want to improve some aspect of their fitness and health. If you responded that you have no particular health problems and his or her response was “Alright, well, feel free to check back with us later,” that would be absurd, right?

Yet, such a response was the equivalent to the response of the salespeople in their role plays with me who decided to withdraw when I said I had no particular problems.

What kinds of questions are your salespeople asking your customers? If you aren’t sure, try doing some roles plays with a few of them and see how they respond. Do they ask you if you have any problems? If so, how do they respond when you say no?

I do not presume damage in your sales team. That would be hypocritical of me. However, I have encountered sales teams who habitually start with prospects by asking about their problems with enough frequency to prompt me to ask you if such behavior is relevant to your business.

If you happen to have a sales team who habitually seek problems and pain points, you are certainly not alone. Does this mean that you have a problem in your business? Probably not. In all likelihood, your company has been pretty successful despite this.

Like all successful companies—even the best of them among us—you can always do better.

Improvement in your business is always within your reach and control; it's rarely a matter of problems or pain. Click To Tweet

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