Pain Motivates Buyers to Act

A universal and timeless truth is that pain is a greater motivator than pleasure. Therefore, to compel prospects to buy from you, sell the pain.

“So, what exactly is it that you sell?”

This is one of the first questions I ask new clients when we start working together. Most of the time they respond with either the product name, the type of product or service they sell or the process in which they deliver their product or service.

But this is not exactly what they are selling.

Paint a Visual Picture of What People Are Really Buying From You

Instead, the prospect is actually purchasing the end result of your product or service. Said another way, the are buying a desired future state.

Here are some examples of how advertisers paint a visual picture of a desired future state when targeting potential customers:

  • Lose 20 pounds in two weeks.
  • Look younger in 30 days.
  • Cut your debt in half.
  • Find your ideal relationship.
  • Discover your dream job today.
  • Fill your practice in less than three months

Still, painting the vivid picture of the end result your prospects will experience from buying your product or using your service is only half the equation. While you may be able to communicate a clear benefit the prospect will experience from your product, that doesn’t mean the benefit is strong enough for them to make a change. Selling the prospect where they want to be may stimulate good conversation but it may not move the prospect into action.

Ouch, That Hurts!

The product or service the prospect is currently using may be “just fine” or “good enough.” And if it’s good enough, then why should the prospect spend money and time to make a change? The fear of change is the biggest fear of all when it comes to making a purchasing decision of any magnitude.

Before people will buy from you there has to be enough pain or discomfort in their present state that would motivate them enough to take action and seek a new state.

Therefore, you need to uncover what their current pain and the cost of not making a change and sell them where they don’t want to be.

  • What does it cost your prospect if they don’t change their current condition and keeping things just the way they are?
  • Does it cost them money, time, stress, productivity, lost sales, a potential hazard, a great employee, their health? 

Once you uncover what their pain is through the use of well crafted questions, then and only then can you paint a picture of then moving from their “painful” present to their desired future state.

If you are in good health, you don’t feel compelled to visit the doctor. Should you be currently employed and happy with your job, chances are, you are not actively seeking new employment.

However, if you were sick the pain associated with being sick would cause you to seek help. Likewise, if you are miserable at your current job, or unemployed, this pain may be the driving force pushing you to find a new job in order to pay off your debt or start enjoying your life and career again.

Sell the Pain

There was a story of an officer in the army who did a fabulous job enrolling the new recruits in the government benefits available to them.

Officer Murphy was assigned to the induction center, where he advised new recruits about their benefits, especially GI insurance.

Murphy had a staggeringly high success-rate selling the government insurance policy to nearly 100% of the recruits he advised.

During his presentation Murphy explained the basics. Then he shared the following insight with the new recruits. “If you are killed in battle and have a GI Insurance, the government has to pay $200,000 to your beneficiaries. But if you don’t have a GI insurance and get killed, the government only has to pay $6,000.”

“Now,” he concluded, “Which group do you think they are going to send into battle first?”

Murphy then shared the pain of not purchasing the GI insurance in a way that the new recruits could understand. Helping them understand the cost of not purchasing the insurance was greater than the priced of the policy.

For a prospect to buy, the cost of not changing must be greater than the cost of making a change.

Looking for more tips on closing and messaging? Check out our free sales training resources.


About the author

Keith Rosen

Keith Rosen is fanatical about your success. He is a globally recognized authority on…

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