Customer Pain Points: No Pain, No Change?

Sales Sales Excellence

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Customers don’t always make a change because of a pain point.

Salespeople have been taught for generations that their job is to find the prospect’s pain and then provide a solution. But what happens when the prospect has no pain?

Does that mean you can’t sell to them? No! Think about it. Have you ever purchased something new from somebody new, even though you weren’t in pain?

For those of you who, during the pandemic, decided to pony up and purchase that new 65-inch 4k Ultra Dynamo TV with that fresh stash of government money, you know what I’m talking about. I bet you weren’t in pain still having to watch your favorite game or Netflix series on your existing 55-inch screen TV. So why did you do it? You did it because, despite not being in pain, you thought by making a change, you could be even happier.

For example, last week, I planned on placing a product order from a company I usually do business with. They have always created a good product and provided acceptable service. But I fired them and chose another vendor because a top-performing salesperson proved he wanted my business more. He consistently called on me. And when he did, he didn’t search for pain. Instead, he searched for things my vendor did well and promised to do them better. He convinced me that I could be even happier. So, I gave him a chance. The mistake my current vendor made was to assume that because I never complained, they would always get my business. Wrong assumption.

How to ask the right way

Now you may be wondering, how do I get a prospect to tell me what they like or expects from their current supplier? The answer is simple – ask them. But make sure you ask at the right time and with the right tone and posture.

In the following example, let’s assume you have called on a particular prospect that you have been longing for, but in the past, they just wouldn’t give you a shot. Rather than search for where their current supplier may be screwing up, come with a curious posture and one that conveys to them that you are always looking to learn where you and your company can improve.

Your tone and body language should also convey to them that you agree that there is almost no chance of you winning their business. This posture is called slight indifference. It means you are always looking to learn but are indifferent to what the client says and what the outcome is. Slight indifference is the most powerful tool in building respect and trust and also comes in handy during any negotiation. It means you are committed to helping others but not attached to it.

If the prospect doesn’t feel like they are going to break your heart by telling you what they are really thinking, they will give you honesty. You might say:

“Dr. Jones, thanks so much for your time. I know in the past you have chosen to stay with your existing supplier and no doubt they are a good company. But I am always looking to learn and was hoping you could help me. What are the things they do well that my company or I should begin doing to better serve offices like yours?”

A humble posture and questions like that will usually get them talking because it’s hard for most people to be jerks to people who are humble and looking for help.

A good follow-up question might be:

“What do you enjoy or find effective about the way your current supplier serves you?”

As they are talking, take notes. This is like the fish telling you what bait they love to chew on. Don’t be surprised if they begin telling you some positives about your competitor and that they also find some areas where they may be falling short.

For example, what if they say:

“My staff likes how they can place orders either online or over the phone, but you know, we’ve had some issues lately with their web system not processing the orders on time.”

Did you see what happened? You asked him (in a low-profile way) to tell you what was working, and he told you what is important to him. But he then followed with an area where his current supplier was falling short. Do you think Dr. Jones would be interested in working with a company that would not only allow him to place orders online and over the phone but also be able to get his product on time?

In short, he wasn’t in pain when you began that prospecting call. But your posture and tone, along with your curious question about what the competitor does well, actually led him to search for their imperfections.

So here are this month’s Hot Takes:

Don’t assume because there is no pain, you have no chance.

Consistently reach out to prospects whose business you want. Be slightly indifferent and find out what your competitor is doing well. It may take several calls and a lot of “nos,” but eventually, you will get them talking.

Learn what makes them happy, and then deliver a presentation that convinces them that they can be even happier.


PRECISE Selling Founder Brian Sullivan, CSP, is the author of the book 20 Days to the TOP – How the PRECISE Selling Formula Will Make You Your Company’s Top Sales Performer in 20 Days or Less. He also hosts a Radio/Podcast with MLB Hall of Famer George Brett called Golf Underground on ESPN Kansas City. To learn more, go to


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