How Pain and Gain Can Help Clients Make Decisions

When we are working with a client, we need to know what would be the best way to encourage them to make decisions that draw them to our products and services.

It’s been known for some time by psychologists that people are driven in two different directions when they are making decisions. One way is ‘away from’ pain; the other is ‘towards’ gain.

If you are aware of the direction your prospect is thinking about, it opens up opportunities for you to present solutions that match their way of thinking. This will help the prospect to realise the benefits of change and possibly increase the urgency of that change.

Remember, prospects make decisions to move away from challenges and problems. To increase awareness of the urgency to make a decision, we can use questions that increase the pain points and stress the impacts of those pains

This makes the prospect think seriously about the solution, while reducing the impact of the money they would spend or the risks they would take.

Examples of Pain Questions

  • How long has this been going on?
  • How much time have you already spent on this?
  • What has it cost you in lost production?
  • How have these issues impacted on your business so far?
  • Has it affected other areas of the business?
  • What other impacts is this problem having on you?
  • How much longer are you willing to let this happen?
  • What impact has it had on you personally?
  • How has it affected your customers?
  • Has it cost you money? How much?

What you’re doing is getting the prospect to feel uncomfortable about the situation and increasing the urgency of finding a solution and making the decision to go with you.

There is another question consultants ask that increases the impact of pain. It’s known as the ‘Do-Nothing’ question.

  • What would the costs be if you did nothing about the situation?
  • What would happen if you waited to solve this?

There is also the other direction that prospects take that can make your questioning process go in the opposite direction. Prospects also make decisions to move towards solutions, benefits or opportunities. We can use questions to heighten the value of what they would gain by using your  solutions.

These types of questions build awareness of what they would gain with the solution. It helps the prospect see how they and the business would benefit.

Examples of Gain Questions:

  • How would the business benefit of solving this?
  • What results are you expecting from the improvements?
  • How will you know you’ve succeeded in this project?
  • How will the staff feel when this is solved?
  • When do you see the project making you a profit?
  • How do you see this improving profitability?
  • What impact do you see this having on your client/customers/staff?

All of these questions help the prospect to imagine the value that changing the situation may have on his future operations.

So, think through how you can either increase pain to make the prospect aware of the urgency of the change, or increase the impact of gain if they decided to go with your product or service.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat
Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image by jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.Net)

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Improving Your Value Proposition

As the saying goes, ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’.

Well, just as each person has their own individual idea of what constitutes beauty, each prospect will have their own concept of what ‘value’ means to them. There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ when it comes to this idea of value in the prospect’s mind. How you present value to the person in front of you should vary according to the situation they are facing at that present moment.

We often see sales people present solutions as if they are totally unique to their company, erroneously concluding that, because our product has this or that feature, it will automatically stand out from the crowd.

The prospect, though, only sees what the product will do for them, and their position will naturally be different from the prospect you presented the same solution to yesterday or last week.

You need to position your offering as a real solution to the prospect’s needs right now, in a format that offers real significant improvements or differences to their current situation.

Ask yourself these questions:

“How will my offering appear compelling to this specific prospect?”

“How does it solve this business’s specific challenges now?”

“Why should they buy now?”

“How do they achieve a higher return on their investment with my product than with the competitors?”

“What recommendations can I give from other users that endorses the use of my solution?”

“How can I actually educate my prospect that this would be the right solution for them?”

“What potential issues will the prospect have in implementing our solution that I could actively do something about?”

All these questions have individual answers attached to them, depending on the perspective of the person in front of you and their business needs. You can’t propose exactly the same value offering that you did to your last prospect.

Improving your value proposition means identifying the current needs of this business or person, matching your benefits to those specific needs, presenting the solutions in a way that this business can see the benefits right away and securing the business based on the tried and trusted results that others have achieved to back up your claims.

By highlighting how to apply those benefits in respects to the individual business you are dealing with, you help the prospect conclude that it’s the right solution for them and they see the immediate ROI that will make decision-making easier for them.

That’s how the value in their eyes is personalised and appealing, just like something of real beauty.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat
Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image by Graur Razvan Ionut at

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Make Your Solution Essential Rather Than Desirable

On our courses, we often ask sales people ‘what exactly do you sell?

After we’ve got through the list of products and services, they cotton on that people, their prospects,  don’t buy those things. So we get answers like ‘solutions to problems’ and ‘opportunities to expand their businesses’.

But are those obvious answers always correct? Yes and No!

Often your products will sell themselves. People will clammer to buy simply because you have the right product at the right time for them. But if you’re not defining the decision-making process that they are choosing to follow, and identifying the time-scales they are using for making those decisions, then it really doesn’t matter how good your solution is to the prospect…the answer is still very likely to be ‘no thanks’.

What is needed at this key point in the decision-making process?

1) A clear understanding of the decision-making process they go through

2) An appreciation of the prospect’s key business drivers

Both of these will give you the opportunity to link your solution with the business success the prospect wants to enjoy. This will increase the urgency that the prospect attaches to your solution, and hence drive a quicker decision.

The way you make a choice essential rather than desirable is to make the choice easy. You show the overall benefits outweigh the cost of action. Those costs may include what would happen if they didn’t choose your solution. And it may include the personal benefits the decision-maker may gain by making the decision now,

By determining the value to their business drivers, you take the emphasis and focus away from the products and what they do, and instead concentrate on how the future use of the products will benefit their company’s productivity or profitability.

Your solutions then become essential rather than desirable. And when people make choices based on essentials, they want them much quicker so those benefits can materialise quicker.

Concentrate on what makes people make decisions for your products. Highlight these reasons at every step, and you’ll find people will make you an essential part of the business relationship.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Sales Training

(Image by Stuart Miles at

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