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Discover their Pain!” screamed the sales trainer, who was generations my senior.

Back when I first started in sales, “Pain Selling” was he norm, and most practiced approach. For many it worked wonders – at least those sales executives transformed from transactional product-pushing towards diagnosing and consulting the client. For others, the pain-selling approach still lacked something – because not all of their client deals were closing. In those situations, sales executives would diagnose and discover the client’s pain points and then present their offering to resolve their pain.

This is when the sales cycle got stuck.

A while ago, I wrote a short article “Empathy in Sales”, where I discussed how important it is to empathize with our clients. This is especially true during difficult and abnormal times. While it is logical to determine what people do not want, it is equally or even more important to discover what clients do want. Naturally, people run away from “pain” and run towards “pleasure”. Just because you can alleviate someone’s pain, does not mean  you can give them what they want. With clients – just because you know what are their pain points does not mean your solution is the pleasure they are seeking!

People (including clients) have different aspirations, goals and visions – and understanding and relating to that gives sales executives a holistic understanding of where the client wants to progress towards. So it’s simple then – Just find out what the client does not want, and ask them to identify what they do want?

Not really. Why? You ever notice that people can easily tell you about what they do not want, rather than exactly tell you what they do want? You ever ask a friend where they’d like to go for dinner, but he/she cannot tell you. Meanwhile, he/she dismisses every option you propose? Yet, they still cannot tell you where they would like to go?

In the world today, sales professionals are taking up an additional role with their clients – advising them and collaboratively coming up with solutions together. Working with the client to think through what would be an ideal outcome, facilitating the thought process as to what benefits them the most – sales executives are now facilitators of change. Are you ready to make that transition to change from just selling to their pain, into discovering what would be of pleasure to your clients? Stay tuned for tips in the next article…

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