Helping clients and prospects to say ‘Yes!’ – 3rd post of 7

In this series of posts, I am outlining the ALIGNED framework for enabling people to enthusiastically say ‘Yes!’ to doing business with you. This third post will cover ‘Injuries and Pains’ – the third of the seven stages of ALIGNED.

A Assume control
L Learn their situation and desires
I Injuries and pains
G Get commitment
N Nirvana – the Well-Formed Outcome
E Elegant solutions
D Decide or die

From the second stage, your prospective customer now has a very clear grasp of what they want, and what the value of having it is to them. At the moment, though, they have neither the solution nor the value. So it’s time to connect them with their injuries and pains. The principles in this stage are the same as in the previous stage. The quality of your listening will affect the quality of their thinking. Listen and understand their pain(s) and don’t let any part of your brain start working on solutions.

Good ListeningBuild the value with them – albeit negative value this time. In the last stage of ALIGNED we had the Value Escalator; in this phase it is time for the Pain Spiral. Try to understand not only the symptoms but also the impact. Understand they are wasting time (how much?) in unproductive conversations with prospective customers, but also understand the pain of not spending enough quality time with their loved ones as a result. Do not do what I just did: I went from wasted time to insufficient time with their loved ones in one step. Tease out all the intervening steps (they don’t have enough sales, they don’t have enough profits, they don’t have a stress-free life and so on). Build the (negative) value – their real pain. It is just as important as in the last stage that you give time to the process of discovering just how significant their injuries and pains are.

Pain scale

Your language and body language again need to demonstrate your sincerity, empathy and compassion. Do not diminish your focus on their pain by starting to think about your solutions! Instead give them your time and full attention, and allow them to see that you understand both their injuries and pain and their Big Dreams equally.

Take time to understand what they have tried in the past. Be curious not judgemental, as judgement will conflict with building empathy and rapport. Remember to acknowledge their partial successes as their failures are part of their pain. ‘Failures’ are the way we humans learn best and helping them to understand the feedback their experiences offer them will build deep rapport between you.

It may be useful to contrast and compare their injuries and pains (and the negative pain associated with them) with the benefits of their Big Dreams that you discussed in the second stage, however beware the danger of wallowing in the misery and balance it with the positives of their Big Dreams.

One more reminder, do not think solutions at the stage. Focus instead on them, not on you.

Next time, we’ll move on to stage 4 – the ‘G’ of ALIGNED.