Listen!

The basic service-product for any industry is a solution to a problem. Whether you are selling ergonomic chairs or gifts online or marketing services or premium denim, your client needs his/her problems solved. Sometimes the problem is easy to diagnose (especially when the client knows what they need); sometimes even the client can't identify the need. How do you go about discovering WHAT the problem is — never mind thinking through and recommending HOW to solve the problem? 

If you find yourself stuck, we've shared some tips from Inc.'s article How to Find the Customer Pain Point

  • Let the customer do the talking by asking open ended questions. Listen. It is that straightforward. Do not project your biases in the question asking process and allow your customer to elaborate as much as they like.
  • Make eye contact. Analysis of facial expressions and body language will give you a good indication of how they feel. Are they tense or relaxed? Look at their eyes to sense fear and their level of comfort.
  • Listen for sounds of anger or stress surrounding an issue. Tone of voice reveals a lot about a person’s feelings.  Also, pay attention to positive and upbeat reactions. If your customer sounds pleased about a solution that you have offered, run with it.
  • Be quiet. The extended pause, an age-old trick, will often force someone to continue to keep speaking due to feelings of awkwardness. The point is to get the customer talking by any means necessary.