Pain points, a lot of salespeople (and sales training) use this metaphor. The metaphor assumes your potential customer is in pain, has some urgent problem that needs solving. And that you are the “doctor” who can help them.  The problem with this metaphor is that it is not true, it doesn’t really apply.

It’s pretty rare that a potential customer is in an urgent situation (is in “pain”).  I just worked on an emergency equipment replacement project that took a year to conclude.  They were not in pain, but they realized they were going to face some big problems in the future if they didn’t replace the piece of equipment as soon as they could.  It was an emergency because it wasn’t budgeted for and the budgeting process would have added a lot of time to the replacement process.

According to business consultant Andy Raskin, there is a better way to look at potential customers (Pitch stakes not pain).   You look at them from a What’s at stake? perspective.  What’s at stake if they do, or do not, purchase the new technology or service?  What’s at stake for them if they wait until next year’s budget?

As Andy Raskin advises, your presentations should be focused on two future outcomes “one that your audience wants, and one that your audiences fears”. What’s at stake for your audience?

My presentation planning begins with two questions: What’s my message and who’s my audience? I am now going to add a third question, what’s at stake for this audience?

So as a presenter, what’s at stake for you if your audience doesn’t remember your message?

Joe Pops