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Stop Being So Gentle. Probe Those Pain Points!


If you’ve been involved in marketing for more than a few years, you were probably taught to always focus on solutions. Keep it light! Keep it upbeat! Don’t ever have a “negative lead” in your copy. Well, my friend, the times are changing. What marketers have come to understand in recent years is that today’s prospects don’t want their business challenges sugarcoated. What they want is to have their problems solved.

The Power of Pain

It may sound a bit insensitive, but your customer’s pain is one of your company’s greatest assets. Having a good understanding of your target market’s casual “wants” may help you create marketing content that makes a few sales, but finding out what really keeps them up at night is the ticket to developing material that meets their deeper needs and the key to a lucrative, long-term relationship.

Here are some tips for surfacing a customer’s pain points so you can help relieve them:


Listen FAR more than you talk

Have you ever noticed that your conversations with friends tend to start at the surface level, but that the longer the discussion goes on, the more serious the topics become? The same is true with your prospects. But if YOU are doing all the talking, you never allow them the time and space to really open up about what’s troubling them. While the formula that’s often followed is Your Question—Their Answer—Your Solution, you’ll be surprised at how much more you learn if it looks like: Question—Answer—Follow Up Question—Answer—(Repeat...)—Solution. And this applies to “conversation” in all its forms... in-person visits, phone calls, email correspondence, etc.


See the big picture

Sometimes a customer’s frustrations aren’t so much consolidated “at the core” of their business but more scattered around the periphery. Be sure that as you look for ways to make their life easier you don’t get tunnel vision. Get to know their operations as a whole. Finding ways to address 10 small pain points can be just as important to them as curing one or two big ones.


Don’t hesitate to say “pain”

As noted above, interactions with prospects used to be kept light and breezy. Prospects today want to know that you know that their job is hard, that they labor under high expectations, and that they are looking to you to help relieve some of the pressure. I’m not saying you should lead with, “So, your job is awful,” but you shouldn’t tiptoe around the hard realities your prospect is facing either. When they see that you’re up for that kind of discussion, they’ll be more inclined to be forthcoming with you.

Get personal

One of the reasons the regional VP wants to streamline operations is that she has kids and wants to leave the office at a reasonable hour so she can spend more time with them and catch some of their sporting events. This is actionable intel. Being able to make a connection between your solution and her family time gives you a tremendous advantage.

Don’t forget the data

A customer’s pain points reveal themselves in a couple ways. One is their emotional reaction to the issues they face. The other is the hard data on their challenges. They probably won’t want to surrender this information in your initial interactions, but as your relationship progresses, be sure to inquire about it.


Show You Can Put an End to Their Pain

As a leading marketing agency with operations in Colorado Springs, CO, Springfield, MO, and Olympia, WA, we’ve been helping our clients show their customers that they feel their pain. Want to make more effective connections with your target audience through content marketing? We can help. Give us a call!


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