How To Focus On Solutions Instead Of Customer Pain Points

One of the best ways to build credibility with your customers is to understand their journey. Identifying and removing customer pain points can be vital in the selling experience. Your customers may not be open about what theirs are, and they may not even know what is truly behind their pain points. When you’re able to identify their issues and tie them to your company's value proposition, your customers will be much more open to buying from you.

What are Customer Pain Points?

Customer pain points are specific problems that customers or potential leads are experiencing. They will vary depending on the type of business model and how they are looking to grow. Essentially, pain points include any issues that the customer may encounter along their journey. 

The term 'customer pain point' is commonly used in sales. However, no one wants to talk about their 'pain points’ or even admit that they have them.

At Pivotal Advisors, instead of talking about these pain points, we focus on the issues and challenges that need to be addressed and find ways and opportunities to help customers do things better. Based on the solutions you provide, and your specific products and services, you will need to target companies that struggle with the problem your solution solves. 

How to Identify Customer Pain Points

Good salespeople can uncover the customer's needs. Great salespeople can introduce possibilities and solutions that the customer didn't even know were options. They create the gap between the issues the customer is facing and a better way of doing things that can lead to improved business results.

You first need to understand the “business problem” your solution solves for your customers. For example, your solution may ultimately…

  • Save them money
  • Make them money or increase their profit (ex. Additional revenue stream)
  • Remove risks that could harm their business
  • Give them a competitive advantage
  • Make them more efficient
  • Give them better information so they can make smarter decisions
  • Give them new functionality
  • Help their customer satisfaction (increase retention)
  • Increase their speed to market

Customers care more about these outcomes than the solution itself. When they clearly see and understand that they can achieve the outcome needed, they can begin to confidently decide on which resource or vendor will get them there.

Getting in the Door

To get in the door with a prospect, it is more effective to introduce some of these possible areas of improvement that they may be challenged with or that could help their business.

If a prospect believes they have one of the outcomes from the list above, then your message will be relevant to them, and they will be much more likely to engage. Then your job is to uncover as much as you can about the issues/opportunities behind their desired outcomes, expand on them, and then tie them to how your solution can address or solve those issues to help their business.

On the other hand, if the customer is not aware of an issue/opportunity, they will not find your message relevant to them and they likely won’t engage. At that point, your job is to introduce ideas or opportunities that they may not have considered. 

Introduce the Need

This is best done by asking questions, although that is not always possible. You may be able to ask, "What if you could…?" and then describe an outcome that your solution can help your customer achieve. You are listening for their interest and how the proposed solution could impact their company and job explicitly. 

If they don't understand the concept or can't relate to what is being outlined, you may need to show them something to get their mind outside of their status quo. Once they see the possibilities, they often can expand upon them. 

This approach is balancing between "discovery" and "presenting" your solutions. You may need to show them enough to get them thinking, but you don't want to slip into presentation mode.

Gary Braun reflects, "I remember one of our clients who sold to the education market. The school people were so engrained in the way they did things, they could not think outside the box. So, when we trained the company's salespeople to show them just a little of the technology and how the schools could leverage it to promote greater student engagement and get real-time results, it opened possibilities.

However, the salespeople had to refrain from just turning that into a demo. Instead, they had to pull back into discovery and keep asking questions about how the teachers would use the solutions, how it was better than what they used today, and the impact it could have on the teacher and the schools. It saved the teachers time, gave them better information, helped them adjust faster, and helped students learn better. That was all introduced to them by showing them possibilities."

Quick Tips For Finding the Best Solution

When it comes to looking for these challenges that your customer is facing, you'll want to keep in mind some of these other points:

  • Don't simply ask about what they want – that is undoubtedly a piece of the solution, but they don't always know what's possible.
  • Introduce things they have not thought about – that is where you can provide a lot of value. Plus, if the things you introduce favor your differentiators, your close rate goes up.
  • Focus more of your time on the outcomes the customer wants (save time, make money, reduce risk, etc.) vs. technical needs or specific details about the solution. 
  • Understand that there may be multiple decision-makers, each with their own needs/wants. They may not even be aligned. It is essential to get to all decision-makers and ask them questions about issues/challenges and opportunities. 
  • Ask questions about what the solution does for the company and how it could benefit the individual. What is their personal win? Will it save them time? Does it make their life easier? Does it allow them to spend their time more wisely? Those things are just as important as the business wins your solution provides. 
  • Refrain from moving to presentation/sell mode until you fully understand everything outlined above.

Remember that your customers’ needs are always changing, and it's your role to uncover them and find the best solution.

In The End

Looking for challenges rather than pain points that need to be addressed and finding opportunities to help customers do things better can be tricky for many salespeople. Start with understanding the benefits and outcomes of your solution, asking questions, listening, and introducing needed ideas to them. Then, focus on the ultimate outcomes for the customers. Introducing possibilities may be the best way to get customers engaged.

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