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Sales Pain funnel

Is anyone familiar with the "Pain Funnel" enough to explain it? I learned about this line of questioning a while back and tried to look it up on Google today but didn't find much of anything. :( - by haggler236
Is anyone familiar with the "Pain Funnel" enough to explain it? I learned about this line of questioning a while back and tried to look it up on Google today but didn't find much of anything. :(
The "Pain Funnel" is a term that was coined by the late David Sandler. It is a technique used for questioning a prospect. The Sandler Selling System is a radical departure from traditonal sales training. It would be difficult to understand the techniques without orientation in the system's tenets and premises. However, in a nutshell it goes like this. Sandler advocated dispensing with feature and benefit selling. Instead he led the prospect through a series of questions to uncover the prospects present pain. The more he uncovered, the deeper he probed. He theorized, as many do, that buying is an emotional process.

When the pain reached an apex in the sales conversation, he offered solutions. But even then he asked for the prospect to reinforce his/her willingness to accept the solutions.

Intermixed with the process was Sandler's use of "strip lining", a linguistic technique that forces the prospect to make a decision whether to continue the interaction on the saleperson's terms or exit it.

I have used "strip lining" in my selling for years. Most of Sandler's model makes use of some variation of it. - by Gary A Boye
I didn't know about Sandler. I remember there was a sequence for delving deeper and deeper. Does that sound right? Do you remember the questions?

I haven't heard of strip lining. When would this be used? - by haggler236
I didn't know about Sandler. I remember there was a sequence for delving deeper and deeper. Does that sound right? Do you remember the questions?
I don't us a "pain funnel" in my system of selling, so I can't detail the questions. I probe to find the risk rather than the pain.

With regard to strip lining, it is not exclusive to Sandler. I started a thread back in July on "striplining" (spelled as one word). I gave a brief example. It's at http://www.salespractice.com/forums...ght=striplining

The thread didn't arouse much interest. - by Gary A Boye
Instead he led the prospect through a series of questions to uncover the prospects present pain.
I've searched high and low for these questions on the Internet but haven't found anything. They must keep these questions under lock and key. - by haggler236
Still Dont get it? How does the Technique work, and why is it called Pain Funnel? why would u name a sales Technique a pain funnel? - by Sanddollar
Still Dont get it? How does the Technique work, and why is it called Pain Funnel? why would u name a sales Technique a pain funnel?
The advocate of the system, David Sandler, used the metaphor "pain funnel" to designate a technique for asking a series of questions in the sales interview that would uncover the prospect's present pain. Upon reaching that point, he was prepared to offer a solution in the form of his product or service.

For comparatives, and for the sake of discussion, what do you probe in your own sales interviews with prospects? - by Gary A Boye
The Sandler Pain Funnel has been around for a long time and pdf copies are not hard to find in Google, if that helps. - by corkked
Doesn't the pain funnel go something like:

Surface Problems -> Business Reasons -> Personal Impacts -> Review/Summary - by Vito
The pain funnel is a term that is used that means to get your prospect to reveal the logical and emotional reason they are wanting to buy your solution. Many times buyers provide a fake reason so they don't reveal too much about their situation. There are many techniques to bring prospects through this funnel.

EXAMPLE:

CUST: "Do you have any information on (Let's say a car for instance)?

YOU: "John, why do you think you need information on a new car?"

CUST: "Oh I may be in the market for a new one."

YOU: "Why not just keep the one you have?"

CUST: "Oh it's getting a bit older."

YOU: "Yeah John I know but my Dad is getting older and we don't replace him, why take on this expense if your old car works fine?"

CUST: "That's the problem Bill, it broke down on me twice this past month."

YOU: "Yeah but now it's fixed, why not try to get a few more months out of it?

CUST: "Bill if I don't get a new car by this weekend my wife will divorce me!"

YOU: "Do you want a divorce?"

CUST: "NO Bill, that's why I need to get moving on this right now!"

As you can see by the above sequence that the buyer shifted from just looking to insisting on moving forward now. The biggest thing that this "striplining" or reverse selling does is gets the buyer to sell YOU instead of you trying to sell THEM.

As you can tell it reveals the true emotional reason why people buy AND creates a very strong commitment to take action to remove the core pain. In this case, getting a divorce.

Hope this helps all of you.

Oh by the way, this method was not invented by David Sandler but by Socrates. In fact this type of questioning is actually defined scholastically as the "Socratic Method" in academia. - by jcrisara
Certainly "striplining" uses Socratric Questioning, but that doesn't make them the same. I was using "striplining" long before I ever heard it called that, and long before I ever heard of Sandler.

The technique's principle objective is to shift the prospect toward a neutral position because extreme willingness can, and often does, take a quantum leap to extreme unwillingness.

With utmost respect to some of the fine methodologies available for those willing to invest time and/or money in, I'll say that over-attachment to any one system, author, book, etc. is merely a form of object referral. If you can find your self within these systems, it's a good thing. But if you can be a silent witness to your very own daily adventures in sales and draw from them, it's a greater and far more rewarding experience. - by Gary A Boye
Is anyone familiar with the "Pain Funnel" enough to explain it? I learned about this line of questioning a while back and tried to look it up on Google today but didn't find much of anything. :(
This is an interesting concept and when I'm not at work, I might read the entire thread. I've never used this term, however; if I break down 'Pain Funnel' I think I know what you're getting at.

Every decision is made in life for one of two reasons: To Gain Pleasure or Avoid Pain.

To 'Pain Funnel' you need to start funnelling your questions and lead to the pain that your client may currently be receiving or attempting to avoid. If you sell cable television you might talk about the pains of hiring movies with late fees or missing sporting events...

Customers are creatures of emotion and not logic. How many times have you bought something you didn't need or how many things do you still need but you haven't bought yet? Tapping into Pleasure/Pain correctly will help the customer perceive value in your product.

(That is, if I've got your reference right. I've never heard the term Pain Funnel) - by MrCharisma
This is a long and well traveled thread, and there have been many fine and informative posts over the last four years, including the current ones.

I'm going to offer a comment from a very subjective stance. I place no value on the construct of Sales Pain Funnel.

My career has been in sales and business. My formal education was in psychology. Since I left the University many years ago, I always believed in the wonderful freedom life offered us in being able to design one's own curriculum towards true learning. Mine has been varied, and I learned more from independent studies than I ever learned in school. I would trade my degree faster than I would the cells in my brain that contain the imprint of Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning, or Jung's concept of archetypes. Or--Frank Bettger's How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling, for that matter.

My point is that I believe there are no quick formulas for understanding human behavour and for leading human behavour our way. It is better to understand ourselves, and in turn lead ourselves. PEOPLE BUY. We want them to buy US. - by Gary A Boye
Sandler actually used a submarine to define the selling process. Part of the selling process was the step known as pain. We've come to call it severe mental anguish. David Kurlan defines it as a 'compelling reason'. but the bottom line it isn't anything new or startling. it is a process of getting to the real motivation as to why someone would take action. Any kind of action regardless if is for making a purchase or changing ones lifestyle. Tony Robbins addresses the same issue: people will change to avoid the pain they are in or the pain they see in their future. - by actgllc
Most systems have a method to get to underlying need and desire. Some call it a pain funnel. I see it as Issue, Impact, and Importance. The ISSUE is the basic identification of a problem or goal; The Impact is the financial or operational hit of that issue. Where many of us struggle is getting to Importance - where it sits with your client on their priority list.

I was working with a prospect on a project that would save their company $20m. They wouldn't give the project any focus. It turns out that my prospect was focusing all of his effort on a pet project for the CEO that he felt would be the key to his promotion. He was right. After he was promoted, they bought our solution. But, his personal priority was an area that as a younger salesperson, I didn't know how to uncover. We forecasted the thing for 9 months as something closing THIS month.

Having studied Sandler and other systems and strategies for years (none of us will ever MASTER sales - we are always learning), the notion of going slightly negative is designed to get to the truth. If done properly, it helps us to focus on high probability opportunities with defined plans - and we fire those prospects who cannot convince us of their need and desire.

So, the "pain funnel" or whatever we want to call it is designed to clearly identify the Issue, Impact, and Importance. I also tend to agree that all of these methods require practice and training. I'm always amazed at how much skill we lose when it goes unchecked - at least that's the case for me personally. - by GrowMyRevenue
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