How to Effectively Map Prospect Pains to Your Solution

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Gabrielle Hughes
Content Marketing Manager

Just as user experience teams use journey mapping for solving customer issues with a product or service, sales teams can apply a similar approach for prospects facing business problems. This technique is called pain mapping.

After an initial discovery call with a prospect, think about how you can start drilling into the problems they’re facing. Under most circumstances, they’re not investigating your product out of academic curiosity. So, don’t be afraid to straight up ask, “What’s causing you to consider us?”

Beyond that, ask questions like:

  • Are you losing deals?
  • Are you not growing?
  • Are your competitors outperforming you?
  • Are your distributors pressuring you to increase volume?
  • Is there a chance you might lose exclusivity?

As you ask these questions, there will most likely be several problems that surface. You can offer a fix to each by mapping each of their pain points to what your product or service solves.

Know the difference between a surface pain versus core pain

Far too often, sales reps get hung up trying to ask way too many things in a short amount of time. It’s important to use your time with prospects asking deeper, more intelligent questions to understand how problems are impacting business.

As you begin the mapping process, know the difference in variants of pain. Surface pains are things that seem straightforward (i.e. trying to grow revenue, but missing revenue targets). Core pain goes much deeper – if a prospect’s trying to grow their business but failing, these problems surface as people start getting fired and divisions begin shutting down.

Here are couple tricks to understand where to place your prospect as you’re pain mapping:

Listen for emotion

As soon as you hear “I don’t know” from a prospect, take it upon yourself to dive deeper into how they feel. Ask questions like “Why is it so important that we fix this? What happens if we don’t fix this now?”

Then, see if they accelerate their tone of voice or speak an octave louder. Are you finding that there’s more passion or emotion as they answer those questions? That’s when you know you hit on the core issue that you’re going to want to talk about and solve for. If you’re not pressing on a nerve, you’re just on the surface.

“Forgive me for asking this, but…”

There is one prelude that you can include in your questioning that allows you to ask anything afterward: “Forgive me for asking this, but if I ask you this question and it offends you, will you let me know?” No matter what, your prospect will say yes.

This comes in handy when you’re getting close to uncovering a core pain, but you might be hesitant about sounding like your prying. In any case, you’ve been granted access to ask whatever question you want because you politely asked.

At the end of the day, the impacts of pain make your prospects emotional. When you take the time to map the pain from the surface to the core, your prospects will have a real reason (fueled by both logic and emotion) to make a purchase.

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