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Greg Nanigian and Associates, Inc. | Boston, Massachusetts

Greg Nanigian

Uncovering a prospect’s pain is essential to a successful sales process. I’ve been preaching that fact for years. Why? Because people buy emotionally, so if you can unleash your prospects emotion, you have a much better chance for success. But how do you do that? How do you uncover a prospects pain or deep seated emotions without being obvious about it?

If you have been keeping up with our recent blogs, then you learned a bit about our seven part sales system, or as we call it, The Sandler Submarine. But is knowing a good sales system good enough? Could be, but really it comes down to the implementation of that system, if you want to see tangible results. To be successful, you need to stay ahead of your prospect when it comes to knowledge about effective negotiating and selling techniques. Otherwise, you may fall in to the traps of the traditional selling model, and then prospects got you where they want you. They know all your tricks and have a few of their own to take control of the process.

Telling stories is a great teaching tool to use in many fields, especially sales. At one of our recent workshops on pain, a participant from a technology company shared a story about an experience he had at a big-box TV store. This person went in to the store to learn more about flat screen TVs, with no intention of buying. He just wanted more information so he could make an educated decision when it came time to buy a TV, and get the best deal online, not at a store.

In our last blog, “We All Live in the Sandler Submarine”, I talked about the seven steps of the Sandler system and how working through these steps will improve your sales process. Step 3, Pain, Step 4, Budget, and Step 5, Decision, are the qualifying steps in the Sandler system. If your prospect reveals 3 to 5 issues to you that are clearly various levels of pain, they have money budgeted to fix the problems, and they have the authority to make the decision to buy your product or services, then congratulations! You have a qualified prospect.

Want to make more money and have more fun in your sales position? Easy, just master the art of identifying your prospect’s pain. To do this, you need to have a methodology or a sales system. That’s where the proven Sandler Sales System comes in to play for you. Not easy, but very manageable.

So you’ve been establishing and building rapport with your prospects and now its time move deeper into the sales process and uncover their pain. But how do you do it smoothly without alarming your prospect?


One way to get a good conversation rolling after you’ve built rapport, bonded, and had a meaningful discussion about goals and problems is to ask prospects directly, “What is the impact of this situation on your company?”

 

As you learn the Sandler Sales System, you’ll acquire a number of powerful techniques to establish an authentic conversation about the prospect’s pain along with tools to sustain that conversation. When you assimilate these techniques into your work, you will close more sales. More on that later, but for now, let’s master and use those techniques and create a crystal-clear picture of what pain is (and isn’t) in the professional sales process. This is important because, unfortunately, most salespeople have no practical understanding of what a prospect’s pain is. Furthermore, many salespeople have no idea why pain is the most important element to having successful sales calls and sales cycles, whether you are in a one-call close or a 12-month selling cycle.

Most salespeople rely on their product or service to sell their prospect, using features and benefits to persuade them into buying. This typically means the person is giving away free consulting and lots of time and effort in hopes of getting that elusive “YES”, when in fact, they mostly get , “Let me think it over” or “We’ll get back to you”, or other non-committal responses and a sale likely never happens.

Think about what’s happening here. Following this traditional approach, the salesperson spends way too much time on the opportunity - and does not get the results he or she desires. This definitely can lead to frustration and reduced motivation.

One of the chief elements to cloing business using the Sandler System is to uncover your prospect’s pain and make them relive it. Most people buy emotionally, so getting your customer to emotionally relive his or her pain is a sure-fire way to get them to buy your product or service to relieve their pain. A couple of great tools to use in identifying your prospects pain is COP, or Costing Out the Problem, and The Pain-O-Meter.

Qualifying Prospects for Higher Success Rates


Identifying and measuring a prospect’s pain early in the sales process is one of the most effective ways to increase sales. So how do we uncover a potential client’s pain without being obvious about what we are doing? You already know and understand why Bonding and Rapport is the first step in the Sandler Sales Process, so now you can take the next step to get a clearer understanding of the challenges and pains your prospects face on a daily basis.