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Search for Troubles


T: Let us look again at the sale, and especially at the fear from the buyer’s point of view. He wants to buy a product, but some term does not suit him. If the seller, in response to the concern, gets up and leaves, the buyer is left without the goods he needed. If the seller persuades him, he buys the goods, but the problem does not go away. Remember, what happened to the car buyer? I convinced you to buy it at “my” price, but this did not create the money in your wallet. The problem still exists. If the seller successfully performs the manipulation, deceives the buyer, he buys the goods, but right after that he encounters the same problem. Even if the seller cedes, but not enough, the problem returns again, although on a reduced scale.


No matter how you handle this fear, it is a cure for the symptoms, not the disease. Fear alone is a symptom, not a buyer’s real problem. The problem is deeply hidden, and the buyer does not want to call it such, either consciously or subconsciously. But it is necessary to identify it, otherwise it cannot be solved.


S: Excuse me, why to solve it? Who needs this?


T: The right question: who needs to solve this problem? Both. The buyer needs it because the problem does not hang over him like the sword of Damocles anymore. The seller needs it too in order to remove the obstacle that prevents the buyer from buying his goods. Moreover, both of them need it in order to establish a long-term relationship.


S: How?


T: Hold onto that question. We will come back to that later, when it becomes clear how the seller and the buyer can solve the problem. In the meantime, let’s discuss how to identify it.


When and how does this problem arise? It can occur if the buyer buys the goods on the terms of the seller. If he does so, he or his company is in danger. This is the essence of the problem. What role does fear play here? The buyer fears that trouble that may happen. However, he does not name the trouble itself. Probably not wanting to wake the sleeping dog.


S: Is it possible to “calculate” the trouble from the buyer’s concern?


T: Alas, it is impossible.


S: But in your story with the car sales everything was obvious, right? The buyer did not have enough money, and he talked about the too high price.


T: The trouble was not at all that he did not have enough money. There is always not enough money; everyone, even the richest people on the planet, would agree. Lack of money is not the trouble, rather it is background. There can be any number of real troubles.


Let's fantasize. For example, our customer is a former pickpocket, a recidivist who decided to quit. And then buying a dream car forces him start stealing again in order to survive to the next paycheck. And the main trouble is the risk of getting caught and going to jail again. Is the dream worth this price?


Another story. Our customer has a sick grandmother, she needs a very expensive medicine. If he does not buy this medicine in three days, in a week the grandmother will die. And then he will not forgive himself for this rash purchase for the rest of his life.


You can find out many other troubles caused by the fact that the buyer does not have enough money to reach the payday. They can be very different. They are united by one thing: all these threats are quite real for the buyer, and the seller does not know anything about them.

How to Find out What Threatens the Buyer


S: Why should seller know about the buyer’s problem?


T: If the seller helps the buyer solve his problem and eliminate the threat, the purchase takes place. It takes place on the seller’s terms, but the buyer is not threatened anymore. The purchase is truly mutually beneficial, win-win. Both parties are pleased.


S: But how to do that?


T: Let's talk when we figure out how to identify the threat. This threat can be real or imaginary, it doesn’t matter. It matters only that the buyer thinks it is real.


The problem arises when the buyer buys the goods on the seller’s terms, ignoring his own concern. It seems that one could ask the question, “What trouble can happen to you or your company if you buy our product, regardless of your fear?” But there is a high risk that the buyer answers, “I would never do such a thing!” Why? He is afraid to bring disaster upon himself.


So, you need to ask in a different way, indirectly. First, you need to ask, “What can happen to your company if it buys our product?” The question is the same, but aimed past the buyer, at the company. It’s much easier to answer. And then you need to ask, “What will happen to the person who makes such a purchase?” Or, better, “What will happen to the person who, through his actions, causes such trouble for the company?” And again, the question aims at the abstract person, not the buyer personally.


No matter how the buyer resists, no matter how much he insists on “This cannot happen, because it can never happen,” you need to get answers to these questions. Then you need to choose the trouble that is more threatening the buyer.


S: And why is all this necessary?


T: As I said, to find a way to prevent this trouble, to avoid the threat.


S: So, what is next?


T: Then two outputs might happen: a trouble belongs either to some known type or to the category of “other troubles.”


S: And what are these “known types”?


T: So far, most of the known troubles belong to two large categories: personal troubles and troubles with companies.

What trouble can harm a company? There are not many: worsening financial situation, serious losses or loss in competition.


What could threaten the buyer? Lack of money or time, personal losses, punishment, loss of status, as well as the need to perform unnecessary work.


Most troubles come down to these basic types.


Why Care about a Name? | 13 Dialogues on Win-Win SalesHow to Identify Atypical Troubles

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