People will buy more to avoid pain than to gain desire/pleasure.
Have you heard that before?
It’s the primary reason behind the pain/shame selling strategy that focuses on the “cost of inaction” or in other words – how awful your life will look if you don’t work with me.
And on a scientific level it’s true.
Science says that pain avoidance triggers your reptilian brain (the more unconscious, primal part of your brain that focuses on fight or flight survival) and as a result, is a powerful sales tool.
So then why does the pain/cost of inaction/shame sales strategy sell SO MUCH LESS than Subtle Selling, Empathetic Selling or Hope Selling?
The flaw in the pain/shame strategy is assuming the prospect you’re talking to is NOT already in pain.
But in my experience, people who schedule a sales meeting are in pain.
That’s why they scheduled the meeting – to solve their pain.
At the point they make a meeting, they don’t need more pain as much as they need the sweet relief that there is a solution.
Imagine this – you realize something is missing that you need help with.
It’s probably NOT the first time you’ve realized it, you’ve been realizing it for a while.
You’ve probably even tried to solve it yourself first, tap into free resources or simply held out “in pain” so-to-speak as long as you could before you admitted to yourself – you need help.
You really need to solve this thing and you can’t do it alone for whatever reason.
Essentially, the “pain” has gotten so bad – you finally reached out to someone for help.
You get on the phone, meeting, whatever and instead of having a conversation about how they could help…
…the first 30-45 minutes of the conversation is spent making you feel really inept, lost and in more self doubt than ever.
They’re really digging into what an idiot you’ve been to this point and will continue to be without them.
Then they say “but here I can help you!”
Although there’s no real clear explanation how (intentionally keeping it vague is part of the “magic” taught behind this strategy).
Does this make you want to work with them?
Because I’ve found it makes most people want to tell you where to shove it.
To clarify, I’m not saying your sales conversation should have NO pain in it.
I’m saying the person reaching out to you for help is already in pain.
And at this point, MORE pain is not what will make them want to work with you.
It will either make them feel terrible about themselves (which we don’t need more of in the world) or piss them off.
Instead, they need to understand what their life will look like after you help them – and really believe it’s possible.
They need hope. And clear reason to hold out that hope – not vague, fluff that’s essentially their words thrown back at them.
Ex: Oh “You want a million dollars and 10 poodles? That’s actually exactly what we do! What a coincidence”
So, instead of focusing on convincing them how much pain they’re actually in (as if they don’t beat themselves up on a regular basis like every other person)…
…you will see more success focusing on understanding their situation, whether you can help and if so, what that would look like – and communicating it to them.
When the sales strategy is reversed, with pain as the smaller part of the conversation, not the biggest part – there’s more success in my experience.
The only time pain is part of the conversation is when you’re understanding the context of how they came to be in the situation they’re in.
What challenges are they facing and why? What have they tried that didn’t work up to this point and why?
Once you have that information, the majority of the conversation should be spent discussing what’s possible for them now moving forward with you.
What will you achieve together? Predictable business, life without migraines, the energy and metabolism of a 20 year old?
Focus on the ultimate RESULT and check in with them – does that line up with what you’re looking for?
Then explain how you would do that for them – without being vague.
You want them to understand what that actually looks like in a clear, simplified way – because a confused mind says no.
And nothing hurts a business more than a person pissed off about mismanaged expectations.
I usually suggest breaking it out in 3 simple phases, parts or pillars that are ideally in a sequential order (which I’ll cover in detail in a different post).
So, they can really walk through the transformation with you.
Check in with them – does this feel realistic to you?
This gives them the hope to believe it’s really possible for them. The more you can weave in client stories similar to theirs – the better.
The overall message to communicate is you’re not stuck in a life sentence – we’re going to solve this for you and life will be glorious once we do!
Excitement and passion are two underrated (and often natural) traits that go a long way in sales.
Winning business without pain, pitching or pretending to be someone else is a focus point of my 4 month Subtle Selling Accelerator.
In this powerful mastermind/one-on-one/course blend I help solopreneurs who sell a service or product $1,500+ to convert 2x-8x more business with custom crafted sales strategies.
We’ll create questions designed to understand your prospect’s situation and you can really help them (whether it’s a FIT more than anything else).
And then craft a simple, clear explanation that’s easy for them to understand and say “yes” to working with you.
Instead of you trying to adapt to a cookie cutter, one size fits all sales framework – we create a sales framework that adapts to you.
It’s 100% tailored to your personality, audience and service.
And for that reason, you sell a WHOLE LOT more, immediately and consistently.
If you’re currently only converting less than 50% of the people you talk to, please send a DM to see if the Accelerator could be the sweet relief you’re looking for 🙂