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Mark Smock
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Mark Smock is President of, the FIRST international business buyer directory of its kind. Business Buyer Directory provides a non-traditional means for proactive business buyers to locate businesses for sale worldwide that meet their exact registered purchase criteria.

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Why we buy to Avoid Pain Why we buy? Avoid Pain - Article by Mark Smock

Our innate drive to maintain our “comfort zone” directly affects how and what we purchase. Pain versus pleasure, similarity versus unfamiliarity and comfort versus stress; self inflected or not, are all feelings and emotions that affect most facets of our lives. How we deal with such emotion volatility directly affects our motivations to buy things that make us feel better.

Humans prefer pleasure, avoid pain, seek familiarity and would rather be comfortable than stressed out. Jack LaLane’s famous exercise philosophy of the 1960’s, “No Pain, No Gain” does not apply to most of us.

We all like things to be “just so”, always in line with our expectations. Anything that rattles our comfort zone generally leads to an action response, a reaction, immediate pursuit of problem resolution. Herein lies a fundamental basis for sales professionals to leverage our natural tendency to seek and purchase things that help us avoid pain.

Selling is truly a Painful Process

Most selling situations involve collaborative problem or pain definition between a salesperson and a buying prospect. The sales representative ultimately attempts to educate the potential buyer about how costly it is to them of NOT having his product or service to eliminate their pains.

Many times in a buy/ sell situation the buyer does not know what his pains are, just the symptoms of the pain. Typically he knows he wants to rid himself of the pain but needs more information from the sales person to determine what it will cost him to do that. Cost manifests itself in many forms, time commitment, effort to be made or monetary investment to solve the problem.

Get Answers to These 5 Key Pain Questions

A skilled sales person must systematically qualify, or better, DIS-qualify the buyer early in the discussion to find answers to five basic questions:

1) What are the prospect pains? (They may not know!)

2) Can I, my product or service effectively eliminate

the pains defined?

3) Is the buyer truly motivated to eliminate his pains?

4) Does the buyer have the financial resources to proceed?

5) Who ultimately decides to apply the available financial resources to these pains?

It is most logical that a sales representative must secure

answers to these five disqualification questions BEFORE they decide to present their pain solutions, products, information or services to the buying prospect.

This decision to delay presentation, to postpone the “sales pitch”, contingent on systematic disqualification of the prospect takes extraordinary discipline on the part of the sales representative. Most average sales people immediately jump into their presentation having no idea what really are the prospect’s pains, if he’s motivated to fix them, can afford the relief or whether he has the authority to make the purchase decision.

Prospect “Pains” are not Unique

With a “pain definition” perspective incorporated in your selling approach you will quickly realize that many of your sales prospects have similar pains. You can categorize these pains, define their most common causes and solutions, then prepare in advance of your sales calls written or visual selling tools specific to each common pain. Each selling tool would be used only for a specific pain.

It is also natural for your prospects to have appreciation for others who had similar problems as they have. Anything you can do to document how you as a sales representative addressed another person’s like pains with your products or services will go a long way to justify their pending purchase. Written case histories of successful application of your product or service with previous customers are excellent selling tools.

Not “Features and Benefits” – It’s about PAINS!

So many sales technique training programs emphasize product or service feature and benefit “selling”. As a potential buyer it is nice to know all this, but prospects want the sales person to first listen to and understand their problems; how long they’ve had them, what its cost them and what they’ve done already to try to fix them. A potential buyer needs to do this first before they can fully appreciate any form of potential pain relief. (Again, save your sales pitch and get answers to the five fundamental pain questions defined here.)

Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, once said, “We will do more to avoid pain than to gain pleasure”. This is particularly true if we are fully involved in pain at the time. With this prospect pain definition selling approach increases in your sales results are certain, resulting in significant pain relief for both the buyer AND the seller.

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Mark Smock is President of, the first international business buyer directory of its kind. Business Buyer Directory provides a non-traditional means for proactive business buyers to locate businesses for sale worldwide that meet their exact registered purchase criteria.

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