Inconvenience or Problem

Last week, I was listening to an audio book and the author proposed an interesting question, is your customer experiencing an inconvenience or a problem. The author starts out by talking about how every sales trainer preaches about the importance of finding the customer’s pain point. Immediately this piqued my interest because I preach that you must find the customer’s problem that they are looking to solve, otherwise their pain point. I will maintain that in our industry most salespeople do not put enough weight in doing this, however that is a discussion for another time.

Now that the author had my attention, they began to talk about how once the salesperson has made this pain point discovery and they recognize their product will solve the customer’s issue, they get excited. Once again, the author has my interest piqued again because I too get excited when I realize my product will solve the customer’s pain point.

So far, I am two sentences into this audio book, I agree with and do everything the author is talking about, however I have the feeling a but was coming and I was right. It was not an actual but, it was an unfortunately. He went on to say, unfortunately these salespeople are disappointed when the deal does not happen. Which all of us have had this happen. We present a vehicle to a customer that solves the pain point that was discovered; however, the deal does not close. And when this happens, we are always let wondering, “what happened?”

The authors reasoning for this happening is, the salesperson did not determine if the pain they had uncovered was an “inconvenience” or a “problem” for the customer.

Once the author makes this statement, I had to pause the audio book to reflect on this. My mind was blow, because as the author stated, these two words are not synonymous.

Let’s take a look at the first word, INCONVENIENCE. By definition it means:

Trouble or difficulty caused to one’s personal requirements or comfort.

Simply put, an inconvenience is an annoyance, more bothersome and a hassle than anything. We all deal with inconveniences every day; however, we don’t do anything about them. Fact is, the longer we have the inconvenience the more we become used to it, therefore the less annoying and bothersome it becomes.

Now let’s take a look at the second word, PROBLEM. By definition it means:

A matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome.

Simply put, problems need to be addressed and resolved. Problems require solutions that need to be acted upon sooner than later. Customers will invest time, resources and dollars to solve a problem, and they will live with a inconvenience.

I really found this concept fascinating. It takes the idea of determining the customer’s current issue to another level. I now understand that not only do I need to understand what the customer’s current issue is, but I also need to determine if it is an inconvenience or a problem.

I began to think about, how to do this and like a ton a bricks, it hit me, this is really all about creating urgency from the beginning of the transaction. Use the following questions during your Customer Profiling step of the sale to better understand the customer’s current situation.

  • What is the problem you’re looking to solve?
  • Why is now the right time to solve it?
  • Who or what is this problem affecting most?
  • Is the problem clearly defined?
  • Is the problem easy or hard to address? Why is that?
  • What happens if you address the problem? What happens if you don’t?
  • How does this problem affect you on a day-to-day basis?
  • If you weren’t experiencing this pain anymore, which projects/priorities could you focus on?
  • What’s the most frustrating aspect of this problem?
  • Define your timeline for solving the problem and getting the right results. If we can work out a solution sooner, how does that help you?

Take the answers to these questions to show the customer that their current situation is a problem and not an inconvenience. This problem requires them to take action and to do it now. Most importantly, show them that you have the solution for them, and they can feel the sense of relief from no longer having the problem. Taking this approach early on with your customer will earn you more deals, without discounts, right now!



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