A Painful Lesson in Sales

by | Jul 13, 2016

Since young I have suffered with scoliosis, which is an abnormal curvature in the spine. As a result of the condition, some daily tasks can literally be a pain to accomplish. As you might know, I’m no stranger to suffering, so I have taken the time to draw a painful lesson in sales!

Painful Lesson in Sales #1: People do not take action until they REALLY feel the pain

In all my years, I visited the physiotherapist only twice – once in my teenage years, and again this year. For decades, I lived with the mild discomfort and occasional agony without taking decisive action (there is no cure, only management). The only reason I did anything about it was because the pain became unbearable. This may sound crazy, but I’m actually glad that my back pain started flaring up. If it didn’t, I would not have started exercising as much as I do now, and would be missing all the other associated health benefits.

The same principle applies to selling. Too many salespeople make the mistake of never talking about the prospect’s pains and helping them to feel it enough to do something about it. Remember, people won’t buy unless they have an emotional reason to do so! Make sure you paint vivid pictures of your prospect’s painful situation to motivate them to do something about it.

Painful Lesson in Sales #2: Selling can be a moral obligation

The physiotherapist I visited in my teenage years recommended some exercises that would help my condition. I did them for about a week and then gave up. While I certainly don’t blame him for any wrongdoing (I lacked the discipline and foresight to keep at it), I can’t help but feel that if he had really explained the consequences, I might have had a better chance of sticking to it. In other words, I wished he sold to me better.

This is how I look at sales – we hold in our hands the solution to people’s pains and problems. By doing a poor job of selling, people are missing out on the better quality of life that we can offer them. This level of conviction drives me to sell with everything I’ve got, which reinforces my credibility as a professional persuader. Do you truly believe in the inherent value of your product? If not, my best suggestion is to read as many testimonials you can to boost your conviction; otherwise find another product to sell!

Painful Lesson in Sales #3: You get what you pay for!

My recent physiotherapist recommended I buy a Swiss ball for exercise. When shopping for it, I ignored age old wisdom by looking for the cheapest rather than the best quality. The time and money wasted buying a suitable pump far exceeded any savings I made from the cheap ball. It was a classic case of being penny-wise and pound-foolish!

Every prospect you speak to will have had a similar experience. If they ever bring up your competitor’s prices as an objection, be sure to ask them “Have you ever bought something that was cheaper, but later regretted it?”


Helping our prospects feel their pain and relieving it is a moral mandate for salespeople. Furthermore, we must encourage our prospects to focus on quality and less on price. If you start applying these principles to your sales, it will transform the way you see every sales encounter. Stop being a pain and start relieving the pain of your clients!

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