New Book: Roadmap For Starting a Business

Pain Points Are the Key to Making Sales

6 min read

You’ve invested time, money, and energy into bringing that new customer onboard only to have the agreement fall through. Sound familiar?

Probably too familiar for some. It leaves you frustrated and drained knowing the lost productivity. Could you have made a sale had you invested your time somewhere else? Definitely.

We see this scenario play out time and time again with new entrepreneurships who are selling B2B. It can be a tough world to navigate if you’re the “little guy” pitching to larger firms.

It boils down to being able to recognize the customers who need and want your solution and are willing to work with you to implement it. 

For a sale to happen, the prospect must have the authority to make the purchase decision and the funds to pay for it. But one aspect beats both of these prerequisites. They must have a pain point that you are providing the solution to. Otherwise, there is no need and no sale.

 

The Fix: Identifying Pain Points

A pain point isn’t something that’s a “nice-to-have” if solved. It’s a problem that is increasingly frustrating and affects the well-being of an individual (if you are selling to consumers) or the functionality and bottom line of a business (if you’re selling to other businesses). It is a problem that must be solved in order for the party to achieve their goals. 

While customer pain points are wide ranging and depend on the industry you are providing services or products in, business pain points can be categorized more generically. For example a business pain point might be: A lack of leads is making it difficult for a company to achieve its revenue goals and stay afloat. This problem can be applied to almost any firm.

The most common types of business pain points are:

Productivity Pain Points - What’s preventing the company and employees from running more efficiently?

Process Pain Points - Is there something in the processes the company has set-up that is causing them to be inefficient or lose money?

Financial Pain Points - Is the company overpaying for the products or services it uses?

Case Study

Office Om is a corporate meditation service that offers in-office group mediation sessions. The founder, Rina, has been working on pitching various offices and typically invests a lot of time and energy preparing the presentations she gives. She’s become frustrated that the accounts she thought would be a shoe-in, she’s been losing. 

After reevaluating her process, she’s found a few areas that typically have caused hiccups.

  1. After contacting a company and getting a meeting scheduled, she generally meets with a junior member of the HR team, who doesn’t have decision making power. It’s then up to that person to relay the information she gives to their boss. And a lot is lost in this transfer!
  2. She spends most of the meeting talking and not listening to the prospect.
  3. Likewise, she comes in assuming she knows what the pain points are and doesn’t spend time asking the right questions.

A few simple procedural adjustments would lead Rina to the right people and have her asking the right questions.

Guide to Pinpointing Pain Points 

Find the key decision maker

Often the first person you speak to won’t be the main decision maker but more of a gatekeeper. Your goal is to get the boss involved as soon as possible for a better shot at making the deal happen. This is because:

  • The boss controls the budget for B2B purchases and what worries them isn’t necessarily the same pain point the lower ranked team member has. 
  • Whatever the leader’s pain is it will filter down to the employees, although they may experience it differently. Everyone will benefit. 
  • If your contact doesn’t know what the pain points at the top are, it may be an indicator that they are too inexperienced to introduce your solution to the business. 

Sometimes people are hesitant to admit they don’t have the authority to make a decision. Therefore, frame the question in one of two ways:

  • Who besides yourself needs to be involved in this decision?
  • Who else would want to know that we had this conversation?

Ask the right questions

Start with: What is causing company growth to stall?

Every business is in the business of making money, so inhibitors to increased revenue are a true pain point. The answer to this question will most likely center around customers, revenue, employees, products, or capital.

Asking this question will help you increase your understanding of the company while showcasing your expertise.

During the conversation, make sure to ask the following questions to help detect the exact pain point and find opportunities for improvement where your product or service can fill the gap.

  • What's your plan to tackle this issue?
  • Is there a certain deadline you must solve this by?
  • Do you think it'll be easy or hard to find and implement a solution?
  • Are you or someone else working on getting this resolved?

Pay attention to body cues. If the prospect seems stressed talking about this, it’s a good thing! That means they’ll be happy to pay to get it off their plates. 

If a light-hearted response like “there isn’t even toilet paper” comes up, don’t laugh it off. It could lead to you digging into deeper problems and identifying a procedural, budgeting, or communication issue that your solution can resolve.

Through in-depth conversations with the right people, you can find out what is keeping them up at night. As individual consumers, we all buy things that promise to make our lives easier, businesses are no different.

 

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