Are you sure that you’re properly diagnosing your future customer’s pain points? This week on INSIDE Inside Sales, Darryl rings in the new year with guest Adam Springer, the rockstar head of Startup Sales and respected authority on B2B sales. Darryl and Adam go over Adam’s 6-Step Call Structure that will help you find the friction your prospect is experiencing and take you from small talk to demo in record time. They also discuss ways you can quickly qualify or disqualify a prospect, how to create a Pain Map to help find other prospects with similar needs, and how to get the right stakeholders to your demo. Learn how to find the pain points that turn prospects into customers on this episode of INSIDE Inside Sales!
A Six-Step Call Structure to Identify Customer Pain Points
- Identifying customer pain points is a fundamental part of the sales process. But it’s often overlooked or rushed through.
- B2B sales process expert Adam Springer says it’s crucial to spend dedicated, focused time in the discovery stage, even if it means disqualifying a prospect.
- Adam shares his six-step call structure, which can help you identify prospects’ problems and determine whether your solution is the best fit.
If you have a child over the age of, say, two, you probably know the three levels of pain. Discomfort: Ouch, that smarts. Hurt: Damn, that’s going to leave a mark. Excruciating pain: Dammitt, I stepped on a Lego and all hell is about to break loose. Whether or not your prospects know this particular anguish, it’s safe to say they do have pain points in their everyday business. And it’s up to you to find them, diagnose them, and (if they’re the right fit) offer a solution that turns them into customers. To identify customer pain points, you need to “ask those deeper questions,” says B2B sales process expert Adam Springer, head of Startup Sales, a consulting firm that helps take startup sales teams to the next level. “You really have to have curiosity about who they are and what problems they have.” Adam coaches high-achieving salespeople with big numbers and even bigger ambitions. One of the most common mistakes he sees is that even the best reps tend to jump in and sell right off the bat, focusing on the features of their products without taking the time to research their prospects –– and those prospects’ pain points. On this episode of INSIDE Inside Sales, Adam discusses how you can identify the particular kinds of friction your potential clients experience and why you should never demonstrate your product too soon. He also shares his innovative six-step call structure, which is designed to qualify (or disqualify) prospects before either you or they spend valuable time moving forward.
Repeat after us: No. Demo. On. The. First. Call.
The most important part of Adam’s methodology? “Don’t do the demo on the first call,” he says. Without it, you’ll naturally find ways to fill in the gap. “You’ve got 30 minutes with this person,” Adam says. “Now you have to ask questions … and listen to what they say.” And don’t just ask them what problems they encounter. Follow up in real time: Okay, let me dive deeper on that. What does that mean to you? “Most people aren’t doing that,” Adam adds, noting that his coaching clients say they ask their prospects lots of questions “before they actually see what I mean by asking in-depth –– asking five, six layers deep.” Then they see “not only how it’s supposed to be done,” he notes. “They see the reaction from the prospect.” When you spend dedicated time learning what they’re going through, you build a bond with your prospects and “get so much more commitment,” Adam says. “They’re going to be a lot less likely to ghost you, and they’ll be more excited to want to buy your product, because you’ve made it about them –– the problems they have and how you’re going to solve them.”
‘Disqualified’ isn’t a dirty word
A great discovery call can lead to an engaging demo, proof of concept, or whatever you use to sell. But the reality is, by asking these questions you can eliminate 80% of your prospects. You only want to spend time selling to high-probability, high-fit clients. So often, we’re desperately looking for something –– anything –– that gives us permission to move to the next step. But what if we’re listening for something that can disqualify them. Then everyone who’s left moves forward with a high likelihood of conversion. “I definitely see people skipping that step altogether,” says Adam. “Even if they start asking the right questions, often they’re still pushing people along who clearly don’t have pain or are not a qualified prospect.” That’s why he is “looking more to disqualify than I’m looking to qualify,” he adds. “I want to make sure that the person I’ll speak to, more than the first 20-minute call, is really worth my time. If not, I don’t want to talk to him. He’s not going to close. He’s not going to give me that commission check.”
Pain points to the solution
Identifying those pains, whether they’re emotional, financial, or otherwise, often means putting yourself in the shoes of your prospects and extrapolating cause and effect. Let’s say you’re the head of sales in an organization. Imagine this scenario: You built a great team and you’re proud of it. But several members aren’t updating the CRM as often as you need them to. When your team isn’t consistent with key parts of your workflow, what does that mean to you, the head of sales? What is the pain you’re feeling now? What will cause you pain in the future? “The pain in the now is frustration,” Adam explains. “The pain in the future is like, wow, this is the fifth time. If I don’t get this sorted out, I’m going to get fired.” Once you start to label and define the problems your prospects have, you know what direction to take your questions. “But when you ask those questions, don’t ask directly –– like, hey, are you afraid of getting fired because your salespeople aren’t updating the CRM?” he says. “Don’t make any assumptions, even if you know 100% that they have this pain.” Instead, ask them open-ended questions that encourage them to speak about it, Adam adds. Then their pains will come up naturally.
Play it forward
There are many kinds of pain points, and they aren’t limited to one prospect. So Adam recommends addressing the particular pains of every person you approach at an organization. “The attorney, the procurement office, the CTO and the VP of Sales will all be involved, but they all experience the same problem in a different way. You need to know how to ask them the same questions but in a different format so each one relates to them.” Adam doesn’t believe in scripts, but he does have a call structure he likes to follow. Step 1: One to three minutes of small talk, “to start to build a rapport,” he says. “Their guard is down and then you actually start to qualify them.” Step 2: Qualification. “Start to ask them a lot of questions,” Adam explains. “How you jump into that is, hey, before we begin, I’d like to ask, what does your environment look like? Or how are you guys currently handling this problem? Whatever it is. Then you say, great, that really helps, thank you. Let me start by telling you about us.” Step 3: A one-sentence elevator pitch. Adam’s is: I help early stage B2B startups build sales processes to get to $10 million in revenue. Step 4: Continue to qualify. Immediately ask them another question “before they get a chance to ask you about what you do or how you do it or anything,” he notes. Then say: By the way, before you mention X, what does that mean for you? Or whatever it is –– your segue to start asking them more questions.” Step 5: Open it up to them. Say something like: Great, do you have any questions for me? By this point, they should have plenty. Address the questions briefly, but then say: You know what? The best thing for us to do is to set up a demo, so I can show you. I could answer these technical questions, but it’s not really going to be in the depth you need. Why don’t we get another call with you and someone from my tech team? “Now they’re leaning towards you and asking questions instead of you coming towards them and telling them about your product,” Adam says. “Then you segue into the next steps. You book the time right then and there.” And when you close that initial meeting, ask who else needs to be on the next call. “Now they’re going to invite more people into the sales process,” he adds. When you eventually do your demo, it will be laser-focused. And every single person on that buying committee will find something in it for them.