4 Ways to Uncover Customer Pain Points

BY Rachel Cagle
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How can you tell if you’re wasting your time on a prospect who is in no position to buy from you? It can be difficult to ascertain since even the ideal prospects may need persuaded to take action. However, especially during a time when COVID-​19 has sales reps working harder than ever to meet their monthly quotas, it’s imperative to determine whether a prospect is worth your effort as soon as possible. Dan Tyre, writing for HubSpot, says you can accomplish this by discovering if your prospect has any pain points.

According to Tyre, “A business pain point is an issue or problem causing ‘pain’ in an organization and requiring a solution. Because they affect the bottom line, they must be solved in order for the organization to grow and function successfully.” If your prospect doesn’t have any pain points, they don’t need your help and, therefore, will not make a purchase from you.

The only way to discover a prospect’s pain points is by asking questions. Here are a few that Tyre recommends.

What’s your company or division’s biggest growth inhibitor?

This question gets right to the point. You’ll learn right away if there is a pain point that needs to be addressed and what it is. Even if your prospects haven’t asked themselves this question before, you’ll be directly involved as they work through the answer either by themselves or with your help. Once you have an answer, Tyre recommends asking follow-​up questions to figure out the prospect’s current plan to confront their problem, what their problem-​solving timeline is, who is involved in the solution, and the ease or difficulty the prospect feels they’ll encounter along the way. The answers to these questions will reveal whether or not you’re in a position to help this prospect.

What takes up the majority of your or your employees’ time?

Saving time is just as important to your prospects as it is to you. Asking this question shows that you realize the value of your prospect’s time. This will help them realize that, not only are you hoping this meeting holds value for them, but you’re concerned about how their time is spent, even after you leave the building. They could realize that they’re wasting a considerable amount of time in meetings trying to solve a problem you’re capable of helping them solve quickly. Or their time wasting pain point could lie in a daily process your product or service could help with, such as customer retention. Time is an important motivator. If you can prove that your prospect is wasting time that you could help them save, you’ll have their undivided attention and know that this meeting is worth your time, as well.

Why are you losing customers?

Asking this question will uncover operational pain points you may be the authority on fixing. The prospect will either know for certain or have a few ideas they’d be willing to share with you. Tyre says that this question, “can give you really good insight into how their business operates, what challenges they may be facing, and what kinks in the chain may be prohibiting growth. Information about any one of these can open up a conversation about how you can help.” It’s also a reminder that the problem you can help them solve is costing them money. By choosing to work with you, they could be saving more money than they were before.

What does your boss obsess over?

Sometimes, you’ll end up having to meet with someone lower on the totem pole than you were expecting. Based on your research of the prospect’s company, you know this person answers to at least one other employee. Are they the decision-​maker or are they just vetting you before a possible meeting with their boss? This question will help you discover that for yourself, as well as the pain points that are on your prospect’s mind. These pain points may not be ones that the person you’re meeting with experiences themselves, but, “A lot of your prospects will have crappy bosses, and getting them off your prospects' backs is a big motivator in the sales process,” says Tyre. If you can tempt the employee with the possibility of solving their boss’ foul mood, they’ll be more willing to give you the information you need to determine if you can successfully sell to their boss. Don’t lose heart just because you’re not meeting with the decision-​maker right away.

However, after you’ve determined your prospect’s pain points, you need to make sure that you’re speaking to the decision-​maker. Once you've found out who controls the budget the company will be pulling from to fulfill this particular need and show them why you have the best solution, they will decide it’s money well spent.