Scared of talking about your clients Problems?

Scared of talking about your clients Problems?

One of the things I often see with business owners who don’t yet feel fully comfortable about sales, is side-stepping or tip-toeing around speaking to potential clients about their problems or challenges because they don’t want to come off as insensitive, or even worse, manipulative.

They’ve heard all about techniques like using “pain points” to get a client to sign up – and they don’t want to be appear to be pressing on those pain points to get people to buy.

But the danger with this is that avoiding talking about the problems that you can help solve in either your marketing or your sales message could actually be preventing you from connecting more deeply with the potential clients who really need your help:

I totally get that you don’t want to use manipulative or psychological techniques designed to get sales purely because it benefits our own bank balance – I don’t either.

But what if you’re coming from a place of service? And you know you’ve got something genuinely valuable that you know will make a big difference to your potential client?  If so then I encourage you not to shy away from the really important conversations you need to have in order to be able to help them.

This blog was prompted by a comment someone made during an online session recently.    She was asking my opinion on using psychological techniques to make sales and said these very words:

“I coach people through pain, so it doesn’t feel right to highlight their pain.”

I pointed out that is the equivalent of saying:   “I sell shoes, but when I see somebody hobbling along the road with no shoes on, feet bruised and bleeding, it doesn’t feel right to point out that I’ve got something right here that can help”.  Crazy right??

If your work involves helping someone overcome a problem or challenge, you do have to be willing to talk about the problem.

I know that in my case I definitely can’t solve the problems that my clients have unless I am first willing to about the things that are  not working for them, or are not as they would like them to be.    I need to be willing to talk about their problems (even go quite deep into exploring their problems) in order to be able to say with full integrity:

“If you are serious about resolving this I know I can help…. and here’s how”

This is NOT the same as Fear-based Selling

Now I do want to make it clear that I’m NOT a fan of fear-based selling.  But that’s not what I’m talking about here.

Talking about someone’s problems – that they already know exist and that keep them awake with worry, and have a wider negative impact on other areas of their life – is one thing.  Creating fear that didn’t already exist just because you want or need to make a sale – that’s totally different.

Being willing to talk about a clients problems:

If I want to help somebody in the best way that I can, I do want them to take a good and objective look at what’s going on for them.   And in order for them to do that, I like to ask them questions (this is what’s called a “sales conversation”!).

I ask questions about what it is that’s prompted them to come and have this conversation with me in the first place,  and I directly ask about their problems or challenges – because I know that if there wasn’t a problem, they wouldn’t be coming to talk to me in the first place.

I get really curious so I can understand what’s going on and how it’s impacting them, what stress it’s causing them, how it’s impacting on their relationships, happiness, health and any other area of their life.  And I ask what it will mean to them over the longer term if they don’t do something about it.

If I’m truly selling with integrity, then I can’t do it without asking questions about the problem.  Because if I don’t understand the problem how can I possibly know I can help?

It’s only by asking questions that I get to assess whether this really is something that they need help with or not.

Sometimes the problem is actually something that would just take a small tweak to change, and I don’t really think that it justifies making a large investment to work with me.  Sometimes it IS a big deal but what I offer isn’t the thing that will best help them.   Sometimes what I offer is the absolute right solution, and an investment that’s worth making.  But I only know by being willing to ask the questions.

The courage to have uncomfortable conversations

So we don’t serve our clients at all by shying away from talking about their problems. We have to be willing to talk about those problems, in both our marketing and our sales.   And we sometimes have to go deep into talking about those problems and the pain they are causing, because that’s how we help the clients see that they really need to do the work if they want to shift their circumstances.

Fear based sales on the other hand is where you  you create problems designed to scare people into buying.    Creating or emphasising problems or outcomes that don’t currently exist in order to get someone to buy from me is not my style of sales at all.

But serving people by being willing to have uncomfortable conversations IS my style.

The real issue is not whether you talk about the problem – but your intention behind why you talk about it.

If what you are doing is highlighting and bringing to the fore problems that already exist, that your potential clients are already very aware of and maybe hoping will go away if they ignore them for long enough (meanwhile things are actually getting worse) then actually serving your client best when you encourage them to take a really good look at what is going on for them, the impact that is having, and what it will mean to them to not do anything about it. So they can decide how important it feels to them to resolve it, and whether you are someone they would like to support them on that journey.

And this is what a good sales conversation does.

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If you’d like to learn a sales process that feels much more comfortable for both you and your future potential clients, sign up for my 7 Steps to Yes! FREE video training. In less than 20 minutes, you’ll learn a 7-step structure for your sales conversation, and the sort of questions to ask to guide your clients to an excited ‘Yes please!’

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I’d love to know how this blog has landed for you – have you also been shying away from talking about your potential clients problems – maybe to the detriment of your business?   Do let me know in the comments below, I read all of them and always love to hear from you!

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