50 Habits of Top Performing Sales People Habit #18 – How Do You Determine PAIN?

December 16, 2015 Selling Comments Off on 50 Habits of Top Performing Sales People Habit #18 – How Do You Determine PAIN?

Continuing with the twelve Sales Skills let’s look at Habit #18 – How Do You Determine PAIN?

Confirm problems as NEEDS and determine the level of PAIN.

Last month’s newsletter talked about leveraging probing (asking questions) to improve the sales cycle and determine the need of your target customer so you can offer your solution tailored to that customer. This month let’s focus on how to determine the PAIN associated with the need.

“PAIN”, simply stated is the financial value of a problem. How much money does the “PAIN” cost? How much money will the customer/prospect save if the “PAIN” is relieved?” Determining the level of “PAIN” is a skill set Top Performers use in an easy and second nature manner.

In order for you to determine if there is “PAIN” you have to look for problems. As discussed in the previous newsletters, professional salespeople must structure a series of questions to uncover problems that the prospect is likely to have in order to uncover problems.

The next step is to determine how serious the problems are and if there is enough financial impact to justify modifying or changing the problem by making an investment that will allow your company to sell something. The amount of revenue produced must be financially advantageous to the prospect in order for them to be willing to make the investment. You have in this paragraph a definition of “PAIN.”

So, assuming you have a series of questions that are designed to uncover problems the prospect is likely to have, you must then determine how you separate these problems into those the customer/prospect will want to solve and those the customer/prospect does not want to solve. This is not rocket science.

How do you do that? Simple, you just ASK.

It might go something like this: You ask; “So, does that bottleneck in line 13 cause you problems?” The customer/prospect responds; “Yeah, it does.”

You respond; “Well, what kind of problems does it cause you?” The customer/prospect responds; “You know the lubricant that we use simply isn’t good enough, it causes an awful lot of downtime because it doesn’t last long enough and that causes us to shut the line down and lube the system or call maintenance because things are broken.”

You respond; “Well, what is the financial impact of that downtime and maintenance?” Now you are getting to the financial impact of a problem and you are determining the level of “PAIN.” Assuming that the financial impact is sufficient to justify a new lubricant or another solution that your company can supply, you have determined that the “PAIN” is high enough to justify the investment in a solution you can provide.

Confirming the problem as a “NEED” is missing in the above dialogue and is critical to cementing, in the prospects mind, that there is a “NEED.” So in an effort to confirm the “NEED” you might say; “If I can provide another lubricant that will eliminate that downtime and allow you to lube the system during the normal scheduled maintenance, would you be interested?” If the customer/prospect responds “yes”, you have confirmed the “NEED.”

The next step is to confirm that the “NEED” produces enough “PAIN” to justify an investment that will solve the problem, fulfill the “NEED” and alleviate the “PAIN.”

To do this, you simply demonstrate by introducing a benefit or benefits that show the investment will meet the prospect company’s financial requirements for return on investment. This is a simple process, however, it is a structured process and one that the “Top Performers” understand intimately and execute with excellence.

“A Habit” is not work, but just a thing that is done every day and confirming problems as “NEEDS” and determining the level of “PAIN” during the sales cycle can easily become a Habit.


For Top Performers every task is planned and focused on the goals that earn the results. Top Performers plan and then engage. They act on their plans, they work hard and they get results.

Coaching these skills is a critical part of what we do. We are here to help you develop and implement your Strategic Plan and coach and develop the skills to implement the plan successfully.

We are having great success coaching and implementing these methods and skills and our clients love it!


Bill has over 25 years of experience in manufacturing organizations. Bill will go into a company and develop tailored strategies to assist with management and growth and then help implement those strategies. Visit www.strategen1.com for details.

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