Regardless of where you are in a sales cycle, it is critical to uncover pain in order for the opportunity to be qualified. This is because regardless of the relationships that you have established and the cool things that your product can do, if there is no pain there is no reason to change. Thus, you will want to find pain and find it as early as possible and one way accomplish this is to give pain while making cold calls.
Giving pain to get pain refers to sharing a story of how someone else has experienced a challenge to a prospect and exploring if they can relate and have seen anything similar. This is a probing technique and can help the prospect to become more self-aware and share information that they might not if you ask them directly without the story of the other company.
A Brief Demonstration
An example of this would be to tell a prospect that a lot of your clients have complained about not being able to produce financial reports that have data from all their international operations. You can go on to share the impact of this challenge and how it prohibited the companies from having visibility across the entire organization and that impacted the quality and timeliness of decision making, which impacted the ability to manage labor costs resulting in decreased profitability.
From there, you can ask the prospect if that is something that they have had any similar challenges with. The prospect will then either share similar pain, will share pain in a different area, or will not admit to any pain. When you reach this point while making cold calls, you can either drill down into pain that is shared or if there is no pain uncovered, you can continue on to give pain from another example in another area.
One of the reasons that giving pain can help to get pain is that many prospects are not fully aware of their pain. And when making cold calls, since you are calling them, any pain they may have, whether they are aware of it or not, it is not the top of their mind. When this is the case and the prospect is not actively thinking about pain in an area and trying to fix it, we call this “latent pain”.
In order to improve sales effectiveness, we need to uncover this latent pain and bring more attention on it. One of the ways to accomplish this is to ask very direct questions about it. The downside to doing this is that either the prospect can fall into denial and avoid acknowledging it or the prospect could feel attacked by the questioning and get defensive.
This is an example why giving pain to get pain can be powerful when making cold calls as you give the prospect an example that helps them to become more aware. You also bring it up in the context of another company so not only do they not get defensive by feeling attacked, they also can feel comforted by knowing that they are not the only company out there in that scenario.
*Source: Solution Selling Fieldbook
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