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Want to Stand Out in Sales? Work on Your 30-second Pain Pitch


By Jim Dunn

Sandler Sales Blog BlackberryWhy should we buy from you? What makes you different than my current _______? Why should I invite you in to see me? We are already doing business with you so why should we look at this new product /service?

Sound familiar? A bit tired of hearing this? Get used to it. This is simply what customers and prospects say to sales people. And we can’t fault the prospect/ customer for asking the question. They don’t have time to waste, and they need a good reason to spend time with salespeople who know how to sell value-whether through a meeting or to view a new product or service.

We also know that people buy emotionally. In fact, we know that people are motivated to action by moving towards what they want, or they move away from what they perceive as pain (something that can hurt).

Here is the problem: sales people try to get appointments by discussing features and benefits (intellectual not emotional), or use “I’ll be in the area, can you see me?” The outcome? Lack of new appointments. Or if a prospect is interested in the product/service the objection often is “your price is higher than your competitor.” Most everyone (your competition) has basically the same features and benefits or with slight differences. Thus, we have become a commodity.

So what is the remedy? Sound different, be different and influence towards what we know about human behavior. We need to know our customers and prospects so well that we can tell them in 30 seconds what we do, what problems we solve and why they would want to invest more time to hear if we can be a good fit.

How do we do this? Let’s structure a good pain pitch with three elements.

1: Make it personal to whom you are speaking (is it a CEO, CFO, what decision maker?).

2: Use emotional words (frustrated, concerned, difficulty with, excited about); remember people are motivated by gain or moving from a problem (pain). Use these words either in a 3rd party story, such as “some of my clients have made a change to our product because they were frustrated by the amount of times they had to slow down production or even shut it down to change the current part.”

3: Take it away. Ask a question in the negative, such as, “I’m not sure this is an issue for you?” or “you’re probably going to tell me that this isn’t an issue for you?”

Watch what happens. Prospects are not accustomed to sales people asking questions in the negative. People hate to be sold or have sales people sound so positive; this approach is different. What’s the goal? Get the prospect to “admit” to an issue. That’s all, or disqualify early without wasting a lot of time with someone. If the prospect says they have a problem, then we’ll discuss the next strategy later, if not, then perhaps we need more bonding, trust, whatever to enhance the relationship.

Jim Dunn is a Sandler Trainer located in Charlotte, North Carolina.


One Response to “Want to Stand Out in Sales? Work on Your 30-second Pain Pitch”

  1. Michael Warren says:

    No way Jose’! Don’t spend so much time looking at yourself, or deep within your soul. Find someone else who can look at you from a point of view that even you can’t see, and then trade off and take a good look at your friend and give advice. To answer the first four questions, that is all about your skills, how much you can do, how fast you can do it, and how long you can keep doing it. Work on your skills or learning new ones. When I was young I found that I had a fear of appointments, and then when I was older I learned that this was out of repsect. Don’t make too many appointments, and PLEASE learn that it is always polite to refuse your first offer! Learn to be a good chess player, and you will recognize every move, and learn how to counter it. I hate being known as a salesman, or having a reputation for being a saleman, but that aspect is only one dimension about what work and business really is. If you want cash, and who does not, you have to sell them something. The worst thing about trying these tricky moves to become a good salesman, is that you meet other salesmen, women and children too, who are trying the same “tricks”. Don’t rip others off, lest the risk of being ripped off by them. Remember Kharma and Dharma, good things happen in return to those who do good deed to others, and thus bad things happen to those who do bad things. If you really want to close a deal so bad, it just might happen, but remember you could be facing a lawsuit in the morning.