Nothing motivates your prospects to buy quite like pain does. If your prospects are facing challenges that negatively impact their business, make it difficult to do their jobs well, or cost them lots of money—that’s the pain you want to discover and leverage.

If you can identify your prospects’ deepest pain-point and offer a solution to the problem, you’ll close more sales—and bigger sales—than ever before. Follow these 3 simple steps to instantly discover any prospect’s greatest challenge, so you can close far more sales:

1. Look for migraines, not headaches.

Not all pain is equal. Don’t assume that the first problem your prospects mention is the key challenge they need to solve. Think about it this way: Little headaches are frustrating, but they really aren’t a big deal. You can continue on with your day despite a minor headache.

A migraine, on the other hand, will stop you dead in your tracks. A migraine will make you desperate for a solution. If you can get your prospects to open up about the biggest problems facing their organization, you’ll have a highly motivated customer on your hands.

For more on this powerful strategy, watch the video below:

2. Clarify the cost.

The biggest pain-points are those that cost an organization money through lost revenues, profits, or savings. If you can get a prospect to articulate that cost by asking the right questions, you’ll create massive value for your solution.

Once you hone in on a key challenge, simply ask, “What would you say this issue is costing your company?” The answer will pave the way for you to close a much bigger sale. After all, if a problem is costing a company $1 million, then that’s exactly what your solution is worth.

3. Make it personal.

In addition to costing the company money, a key challenge is one that makes your prospects’ lives and jobs more difficult. Your goal is to find out how. In order to do that, you might need to hold their feet to the fire a bit. Try asking, “How does this issue affect you personally?”

You may feel uncomfortable probing on a personal level, but remember that it’s your job to fully understand your prospects’ problems in order to solve them. Clarifying the personal cost of a prospect’s challenge will increase commitment to investing in a solution—and help you close the sale.

Now that you know prospects are motivated by pain, how will you use these 3 tips to discover—and solve—their greatest challenges?


Marc Wayshak is the founder of Sales Strategy Academy, best-selling author of Game Plan Selling, and a regular contributor for Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine and the Huffington Post Business section. He holds an MBA from the University of Oxford and a BA from Harvard University.