A young man went to the doctor the other day and said he wasn’t feeling well. After asking the young man a few questions and looking around, he found his pain. The Dr. replied; “Yup, you’ve got a tumor in your abdomen and it’s giving you stomach aches. Here is some pain medicine, take 2 every 4 hours and the pain will go away.”
Translate this into sales and it’s what we’ve been taught for years. Find the pain, insert your product. In this case, two pills. Unfortunately, the pills may have addressed the pain, but they didn’t solve the problem.
When we look for pain, we’re looking for a place to put our products not necessarily to help the client. If you were a pain medicine sales person, you’d be prescribing pain medicine. If you were a radiation machine sales person, you’d be prescribing radiation treatment, etc. You get my point. Unfortunately, none of this does much to help out the patient.
Our job as sales people is to solve problems, not just find the pain. Solving problems is VERY different than finding pain. Finding pain is like triage, it’s only the first step. The true value sales people bring is in the problem solving. Problem solving requires more complex thinking. It requires more knowledge of the situation. It requires greater understanding of all the moving parts. Problem solving is a lot more difficult than finding the pain.
I don’t need anyone telling me I hurt. I know that already. What I need is someone telling me why I hurt, what is causing it, how it happened, what is at the root, what is causing the pain, what is the impact of the pain, what else it could effect, what we don’t want to continue, what happens if it’s not treated and more. I want the whole enchilada. Telling me that I have a pain does me very little good without the rest.
Once I know what the problem is and everything associated with it, I want as creative, cost effective, high return, low risk, easy to manage solution as I can get. I want someone who thinks differently. To do this I need someone who looks at my problem holistacally and doesn’t just see it as a nail, because all she has is a hammer. I want someone who is going to help me solve my problem.
The best sales people are like the best doctors. They do more than just tell you, you are in pain, they actually solve the problem. Don’t just find your customers or prospects pain, find the problem then solve it.
And while you’re solving it, be pretty damn creative. It’s what will set you apart.
Stop looking for pain and start solving problems.