What are customer pain points, and how to discover them during a sales meeting?

What are customer pain points, and how to discover them during a sales meeting?

Identifying customer pain points can help you understand your client’s needs and prepare an offer tailored to their needs. How to discover your prospect’s pain points? Read our article and get to know the answers.

Your customer problems: expectations and wrong conclusions

Have you ever heard the term pain point? Pain points are recurring problems that your prospective customers or current clients try to solve. They can be small inconveniences, everyday challenges, or big problems that seem impossible to handle. However, it is crucial to distinguish between genuine customer pain points and serious operational inefficiencies.

A pain point can mean something different for different clients. It is understandable that your customers struggle to find the solution and deal with a deadlock. However, sometimes they are not able to discover their real needs, and what is behind their pain points. They would like to increase sales but do not know what kind of product or service is suitable.

The best example of the fact that customer needs are not always well-defined is reflected in a quote by Henry Ford (an engineer, businessman, and founder of the Ford Motor Company).

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses. That is why I had not asked them”.

What does your customer want?

Probably, you consider why Ford did not ask people and did not carry out an analysis of their needs. An offer tailored to customers’ needs is the key to sell more and increase revenue.

Some people say that he should have done something similar to qualitative and quantitative research. This situation has a deeper meaning – H. Ford had discovered customer pain points by himself.

His customers wanted to move faster from a given point to point, so the faster horses were not the pain points. This shows how potential customers may not know what they need and look for.

A sales rep considers pain points.
Fig. 1. Your customer may not know how to define their pain point.

You do not have to be like Henry Ford. You can simply be mistaken and, as a result, offer the wrong product or service. Conducting customer research can help you discover the most important pain points.

You will be a reliable partner in the eyes of your potential customers if you are eager to solve their problems. A well-planned meeting and subtle questions can be helpful if you want to know your clients and help them.

According to the data from HubSpot (2022), 66% of customers expect that companies will solve their problems and discover pain points.

Customers expect companies to discover their pain points.
Fig. 2. It is essential to discover customer pain points.

To identify customer pain points and get to know their needs

If you want to know your client better – be inquisitive. You should explore the topic and get to know more about their company, competition, market, and potential pain points. Even if you discover that your customers have the same paint points, the root of them can be different as well as the solution.

People encounter obstacles no matter if they run a small business or a big company. Probably every customer has their pain point. There are some similar challenges that many customers deal with. However, do not assume anything in advance. Remember that you cannot be deceived by common customer pain points. Always listen to your clients first before you draw conclusions and offer solutions.

What kind of pain points do your customers have?

As we have said a specific pain point refers to a problem, something that your client is aware of and annoys them. Experts distinguish different pain points – from financial pain points, productivity pain points, process pain points to support pain points.

The common pain point categories

  • financial pain points – those pain points deal with money. Customers are not convinced if the service that they pay for is really worth that price. Financial pain points occur when clients think that they pay too much and receive not enough.
  • productivity pain points – the product bought by your customers does not satisfy their needs. They expected the processes in their company would take less time, but the reality was different. The productivity pain points mean that customers experience roadblocks and do not know how to deal with such issues.
  • process pain points – time-consuming tasks, complicated methods, and an unclear method of gaining qualified leads – those can be problems of your customer. Process pain points often deal with internal processes that are too complex and disorganized.
A meeting with current customers.
Fig. 3. Process pain points deal with internal processes.
  • support pain points – the lack of customer satisfaction, unclear manuals, low level of customer service, and limited contact with a support team – all these factors can lead to frustration. It is obvious that support teams are busy answering a lot of questions, however, every case deserves their help. Support pain points usually stem from the feeling that customers do not receive the attention they need, especially at critical stages of their customer journey.

The above customer pain points are just examples of the biggest challenges that your client can face up. They can vary depending on their scale and complexity. Those pain points can probably be grouped into broader categories. Regardless your customer has financial pain points, productivity pain points, or other business pain points, your role is to be supportive.

Why is it good to know the common pain points?

Conducting customer research and discussing very specific pain points can lead to better understanding. Moreover, it can move the relationship between sales reps and current or potential customers to the next level.

Identifying pain points by a sales rep proves a professional attitude, improves customer experience, and strengthens the company’s image. Remember that you can make a first impression only once, so do not waste your chance.

Think about questions you want to ask – a meeting and conversation can be chances to establish long-lasting cooperation. Therefore, consider the first question and general aim of the conversation.

What can you gain if you discover your customers pain points?

  • If you know your customer pain points, you can tailor your offer to their needs.
  • If you are aware what is your prospect’s language, you can create a suitable form of communication and change the landing pages of your company, blog posts, or information on social media.
  • By conducting qualitative sales research or customer research, you communicate that every pain point matters.
  • By having constant contact with prospective customers or current clients, you build an image of the company that cares. Your company will be perceived as the one that listens to clients (customer experience matters) and changes if it is necessary.
Fig. 4. Show your current customers that you want to solve their problems.
Fig. 4. Show your current customers that you want to solve their problems.
  • You expand your knowledge about the products or services of your competition and its sales offers. Customers’ opinions are very important and can help you build the future strategy of your company.
  • If you solve customer pain points, you know more about your customer journey. You are a conscious sales rep who knows what attracts your clients and how to convert leads into current customers. In the future, it will affect your financial standing.
  • You can improve the buying process, marketing strategy, and quality of products in your company. By listening to your customers, you become a strong competitor. If you know your flaws and mistakes made by other companies, you can create better sales offers. According to the data from HubSpot (2022), companies that focus on discovering clients’ needs increase their income by 60%.
Carrying out qualitative research.
Fig. 5. Taking care of customers pain points is profitable for the organization.

How to discover your customer’s pain points and needs?

Now you know why it is good to talk to your customers about their problems and needs. However, how to identify customer pain points? It is crucial to ask the right questions. By gathering and organizing the information, you can collect various customer data. Thanks to this, you can create an effective sales offer.

A pain point refers to a recurring problem and, as we know, talking about challenges or difficulties is not something that people want to be engaged in. How to talk about your customer pain points? How to address pain points?

An analysis is not easy, especially, if prospective customers are not aware of the scale of problems and do not know how to identify their needs.

Sales reps working in sales teams deal with a lot of clients every day. It is hard to stay focused all the time and be curious about new customers and their needs. However, being inquisitive and open-minded is the best way.

If you want to know your customer pain points and needs, you must be a good listener. Do not be judgemental and do not think stereotypically. Ask open-ended questions and make sure that your customer feels comfortable in your company. You must convince your client that you are eager to help, not only to sell your product or service.

How to start the analysis of your customer pain point?

There are different approaches to such an analysis and discovery of customer pain points or needs. Some sales teams believe in conducting qualitative customer research. They ask open-ended questions such as:

  • tell me about the problem that you want to solve,
  • what would you change about your current offer?
  • how do you assess your product or service?

Remember that conducting qualitative customer research will be less effective if you ask closed-ended questions or suggest the answer.

You should also know that while qualitative research is focused on longer statements and discussing problems, quantitative research helps generate numbers and specific data. For example, quantitative market research is based on asking yes/no questions or 1-10 scoring system.

Fig. 6. Carry out qualitative research to discover pain points.
Fig. 6. Carry out qualitative research to discover pain points.

Another way to hold a successful conversation with a customer is to ask general questions first. After that, you can continue and ask more specific questions. Try to gain as much information as it is possible and enquire about the details. If it is necessary, ask guiding questions or leading questions.

Use professional language that is popular in your client’s industry. Thanks to this, you will build an image of an expert who knows your customer’s situation and company. You should be inquisitive and determined but considerate. Remember that if you gain more information, you will know your customer pain points better.

Ask why your customer chose your company and products. Why did your customer change their mind? What are the differences in the sales offers? Was your client satisfied with previous sales offers? Why not? What was the reason for changing the offer?

Questions that you need to ask

What kind of questions should you ask to know your customer’s pain points and needs?

  • What is wrong with the present situation?
  • What can change it?
  • What are your expectations towards a product or service?
  • What is preventing you from choosing a different offer?
  • What are the biggest challenges you are currently facing?
  • What is preventing you from reaching your business goal?
  • What is going to happen if the situation changes?

What to talk about with your customers – the SPIN sales methodology

As you know, there are several approaches to conversations with clients. According to Neil Rackham, the author of the book “SPIN Selling”, there are two types of clients’ needs:

  • implicit needs – customers are not aware of their real needs and problems,
  • explicit needs – customers are aware of their needs, therefore, in this situation, a conversation between a sales rep and a client can be easier.

What does it mean the SPIN sales methodology? SPIN is an acronym for the words related to the questions asked during a meeting with a customer.

The types of questions

  • situation – you should ask them at the beginning, they will help you know more about your client’s current situation. The useful phrase is: “I have heard that your company…”. It suggests that you have some information about your customer,
  • problem – these questions are helpful if you want to know more about your customer’s problems and challenges. The example questions: “What is the source of your financial problems?”, “Why is the customer service not working well?”,
Using different methodologies to discover customer pain points.
Fig. 7. You can use different methodology to discover customer pain points and needs.
  • implication – these are very important questions, and you should ask them after the discussion on your customer’s needs. Thanks to these questions, your client can perceive the actual source of the problem and your solution. The example questions: “How much do you spend on your current system?”, “What are your extra costs?”,
  • need-payoff – thanks to these questions, your customer will realize the importance of your product or service in solving their problem. The example of the question: “Have you ever heard about sales automation tools?”,

In this article, you have several suggestions on how to carry out a successful conversation with customers to discover their needs and pain points. Obviously, the situation in the real life will be more demanding.

Meetings with customers can prolong, and if you write everything on the pieces of paper, they can last even longer.

Luckily, you can use a new tool from Salesbook that allows you to discover every pain point of your clients.

How does it work in practice?

Imagine that you have a meeting with your client, and you do not have to take any marketing folders with you.

You just take a tablet with Salesbook and calculator that will help you analyze your customer’s needs.

The calculator helps discover your customer pain points.
Fig. 8. It is easier to talk about needs and customer pain points with Salesbook.

A lot is going on during meetings and a sales rep has to remember many details to close a deal in the future. Thanks to this article, you know what kind of questions you should ask. Now you will read about a smart tool that will help you do it.

Get to know the calculator from Salesbook

You can upload all necessary materials into the system on a tablet. They will help you begin a meeting. It is a big advantage because you click only several times to find what you need.

You do not have to focus on making notes, listening to your customer, and holding a conversation at the same time. During a meeting, you choose specific options or variants of offers that are interesting to your client.

You can personalize Salesbook to your company’s needs.

The personalized calculator from Salesbook.
Fig. 9. The calculator will help you to offer tailor-made solutions to your clients.

Your customer is engaged in a conversation

Before preparing a sales offer, you talk to your customer about many aspects. You ask about the sum of money to spare or about an important element of a product or service. Thanks to Salesbook, you can focus on things that are really relevant to the customer and omit unimportant elements.

Salesbook enables you to carry out a casual conversation with your client. Moreover, it engages your interlocutor at the same time. The calculator is an innovative tool, graphically designed with the greatest care. Due to this, your customer can analyze their situation with you and it will not be problematic.

Create a sales offer with Salesbook

Salesbook is the modern tool that supports the sales process. It will help you analyze your client’s needs and common customer pain points. Furthermore, it will support you in creating an effective sales offer, or actually, it will do it instead of you.

At present, it is crucial to be outstanding and offer clients something extra, so Salesbook will allow you to leave your competitors behind.

Salesbook helps sales reps with its configurator.
Fig. 10. Salesbook helps sales reps prepare effective offers.

During a meeting, the system gathers the information about your client’s needs and on account of that, you can generate even several variants of the offer.

Check how Salesbook works

Are you interested in discovering pain points with Salesbook?

Try the free demo and get to know Salesbook.