If you find the pain, so what?

My friend Sharon Drew Morgan has preached for many years that facilitating change is the crux of making a sale. She tells us it’s not about the pain. She’s right … and not. In her latest blog post, Your prospects aren’t in pain, she says “When I hear sellers say that buyers have ‘pain’ I ask how long it would take them to get to the hospital with a broken arm: “Immediately.” Why? Because they’re in pain. But buyers don’t buy ‘immediately’ and have had their pain for a period of time.”

While her basic buying premise about change is correct, she is missing a point about pain. People in personal pain often delay seeking relief. I actually have a slight headache now, but have avoided taking aspirin for the last 3 hours because I don’t like taking pills. Other people avoid doctors to resolve “pain” for long periods of time. Others rush to the doctor at the drop of a hat (my son comes to mind).

She is right, pain is not sufficient, but resolving an uncomfortable or unacceptable situation is, and sometimes the issue is the system keeping things the same (as she teaches), and sometimes the ‘pain’ is not great enough to cause us to change.

Reminds me of a trip to the dentist many years ago to repair a cavity. I hate having my mouth “put to sleep” (no jokes about me talking too much are needed here). As the dentist was drilling he asked me if the pain was too great. I said, “Not enough to do anything about.” He said, ” Great answer.” Was I in pain? Yes. Did I want to do anything about it? No, given the available options. Would I have been open to some other option? Maybe.

Sharon Drew is correct, it is not about pain … except when it is. But it is never just about pain, of that we both agree.


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