Would you pay $100 to avoid pain?

Sure you would, if you felt the pain you might have to deal with is worth $100 to you. If you felt the pain you might incur is not going to be a problem, then you wouldn’t spend the $100.

A lot of salespeople position their product or service as a benefit to help their customer avoid having to deal with pain or to minimize a risk. Nothing wrong with that strategy, as long as the customer can see the price/value relationship  — or maybe I should say the price/pain ratio as being worth it.

Recently I was asked by a salesperson if selling a service to help someone avoid a $10,000 fine is a good strategy. Sure it is, if the risk of the $10,000 fine is real. If it’s something that has zero probability of occurring, then no. This is the issue — if the customer doesn’t feel there is a pain or risk, then you can’t sell against it.

Too many salespeople are out there thinking they can make a huge amount of money selling something to avoid a risk or pain that simply does not exist in the customer’s eyes.

To get around this issue, the salesperson has to be willing to educate the customer. This can many times take far too long and the result is the salesperson dies from a lack of sales.

If you’re selling using this strategy, the challenge you have to overcome is to create a large enough of a market that is aware of you. The reason for this is so when the risk or level of pain they’re dealing with becomes high enough, they think of you as the solution. This obviously can require a huge advertising budget, which makes it a bad strategy for most companies.

A better approach I like is if you’re going to sell against pain or risk but the value to the customer is minimal, then only use risk or pain as a secondary benefit.

Go in with the strategy of helping the customer fulfill other benefits, and then use the risk/pain point as icing on the cake to help close the deal.

If, on the other hand, what you’re selling is going to help people deal with a significant risk or pain, then you can lead with that being the big benefit.

Remember in the end it’s not what you think the pain or risk is. It’s what the customer thinks that matters.

Copyright 2012, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.





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