If you want to be really successful at selling something (product, service or idea) you have to draw attention to the benefits that most interest the prospective customer. That means that you need to address customer pain points.
Customer pain points are the problems or issues that are preventing your customers (and prospective customers) from achieving their goals. A pain point could also be something that’s causing them stress or inconvenience. So, basically it’s the particular problem your customers face.
It would be easier to just list all the benefits one could gain from your offering. But if the list of benefits is too long, the key selling points may get lost in the jumble. Or you could end up emphasizing the ones that don’t matter to your audience. So you’d miss the opportunity to establish yourself as the solution to their problems.
Find the Pain
So, how does one figure out customers’ actual pain points? Inc.com has an excellent article on finding pain points during customer interviews. But there are a few other tactics you can use as well.
Talking to your salespeople should yield quite a few insights into the specifics of the problems that prospects and customers are facing. Also, workers who have direct contact with customers, such as customer service staff and even the communications staff who interview customers for case studies, hear about pain points with your current offerings, so you can also get great ideas for upgrading.
For insights that are a little less one-on-one, you can try searching or lurking on the discussion threads of online forums and groups. One example that comes to mind is when an online discussion in a LinkedIn group shared information on an online service that one of my clients had considered. Many of the group members stated that the service’s sales team was obnoxiously pushy and not worth the service itself. If staffers from that service happened to be lurking, they would have been able to tell the sales department to tone things down.
You could identify general pain points for your targeted group by looking at review sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List, etc. Another source is professional market or industry research companies such as Gartner, Forrester Research, etc.
Use the Pain
Once you know the relevant pain points for your target market, you can use them to guide your messaging. For example, if you find that a benefit addresses a very common or powerful pain point, it’s a good idea to announce that benefit in your headline and/or lead paragraph. Your knowledge of the pain points can also help you craft a hard-hitting positioning statement and elevator pitch.
Understanding pain points also provides opportunities to develop case studies that highlight how your product/service resolved a problem that you know prospects will care about. That’s better than sharing a success story that doesn’t resonate with them, e.g., showing how you improved general work performance when the prospect wants support for a very specific reform program.
Some experts advise ignoring any complaints about general pricing. However, an viable alternative is explaining or demonstrating how your product/service is worth the investment. Being able to prove return on investment should net you more buyers.
Listening to your customers and prospects will help you stay connected to their concerns and pains. As I mentioned, you can also use the insights you gain to improve your own product/service/business process. The more you address or salve their pain, the more positive relationship you can build. Consequently the more success you’ll experience.