How To Really Uncover A Prospect’s Real Pain

How To Really Uncover A Prospect’s Real Pain

Why is it so hard to uncover a prospect’s challenge or issues — the real pain — so you can help them address it? You need proven process for getting to the pain and eventually getting more business.

Think about these two unique prospects.

One prospect can be ready to go with your solutions with unbridled enthusiasm while another prospect is ready to start on your recommendations but can’t get approval.

Why do these prospects behave so differently especially when they appear to be facing identical challenges?  Surface problems may be similar, but the underlying problems – the real pain and the prospect’s motivations can be very different.

When you face this dilemma, the Sandler sales experts recommend uncovering the real pain by leading your hesitant and nervous and maybe overwhelmed prospect down their Pain Funnel.

Sandler’s pain process uncovers the underlying reasons for your prospect’s pain, as well as its impact, by moving him from the general to the specific. And most important, you move him from intellectual to the emotional state.

I have been using this Pain Funnel and it works. And be mindful that the key on your part is patience, nurturing, polite firmness and commitment. And when you use the Pain Funnel effectively you will benefit from realizing that with no pain, there is no gain for you.

Here’s how it simply works.

Your prospect will state his surface pain (the problem he is willing to share up-front) and then you follow this pain questioning path.

  1. What have you tried before to fix the problem that we’re discussing?
  2. Tell me more.
  3. How did that eliminate the problem?
  4. Why do you suppose that didn’t work?
  5. Why did you choose that approach the last time you made this decision?
  6. What was the key issue that caused the alternatives to be ruled out?
  7. Why was that the key issue?
  8. Why was it so critical?
  9. What lessons came out of the experience?
  10. How much did this experience cost you?
  11. What was most important to you personally?
  12. How did it make you feel?
  13. Have you given up trying to fix the problem?
  14. How will your earlier experiences affect the decision on the solution you choose?
  15. What will you do differently when choosing a partner this time?
  16. How committed are you personally to resolving the problem (not how committed is the boss or the team)? YOU?
  17. Is there anything else I should know that would be helpful?

After you’ve asked these questions, you know these four key insights that can shape more relevant, successful and bought solutions:

  • More precise details about the problem.
  • What the prospect has already done to try to solve it.
  • Why those strategies or tactics failed.
  • What this process has cost the company.
  • How it has affected the prospect directly (and personally).

You’re now ready to move on in the qualifying process. And can’t you see how this works as a simple assessment tool too?

Thanks to my trainers Jody Williamson, Karen Mercale, Jim Mattei and John Martin for their introduction to and their going guidance in using the Pain Funnel.

Want to get adept at this – try a Sandler Boot Camp or start by reading The Sandler Rules by David Mattson.

Meanwhile, how are you uncovering your prospect’s real pain, so your solutions get bought and implemented?


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