Identifying the 4 Pain Points of Customers


Many people have the belief that the best salespeople are the ones who are the most charismatic and who can fast-talk their way to a closed deal.

In reality, the best salespeople are the ones who follow the consultative approach rather than the “sell everything to everybody” approach. One of the pillars of the consultative approach is to ask the customer strategic questions about their needs and desires. The salesperson can then custom-tailor the pitch to the customer individually, which leads to a better customer experience, more loyal customers, and less buyer’s remorse.

The fact remains that expert selling is 80% asking questions, and 20% responding to those questions. However, master salespeople simply don’t ask questions for the sake of asking questions. They ask questions that will help them discover a pain point within a customer. Once a pain point is discovered, the salesperson can help solve that pain by offering a solution.

A pain point is simply a problem that the customer is experiencing. It sounds easy to understand but to truly master the process, it’s imperative to understand the different types of pain points and how to respond to them.

Pain Now

The first pain point is the most common one. Statistically, it’s also the easiest pain point to overcome. Pain now means that the customer is experiencing a problem that is hindering them in the present. For example, let’s say that you are selling internet service over the phone. If you call someone who is currently experiencing extremely slow and unreliable service, that’s a pain for the customer right now.  You can solve that pain by offering your services, which provide more reliable service at higher speeds.

Overcoming this style of pain is all about there here and now – What are you going to do to solve the customer’s need right now?

Pain Later

The second pain point deals with future problems rather than ones in the present. Pain later means that the customer will have a need for your product at some point in the future. A great example of this comes from a recent commercial for a cable TV provider. The commercial showed a family watching a football game during a thunderstorm. Of course, at the climax of the game, the TV goes out because the satellite lost connection. This is a great way to illustrate how a company can expose a future pain point.

Overcoming this style of pain is all about looking ahead – How will your product/service solve a potential future issue?

Gratification Now

The third (and fourth) point might seem a little weird because it deals with gratification rather than problems. However, showing customers what could be if they tried your product/service can make the customer feel a pain point with the status quo. That feeling of “this isn’t good enough, I should look at other options” is achieved by showing what could be. Gratification now is basically all about showing how much their current situation could be improved by using your product/service. For example, take a look at fast food commercials. They don’t talk about pain now or pain later, they talk about how delicious and inexpensive their food is. They want to communicate that eating at their restaurants will make your lunch/dinner experience better.

Overcoming this style of pain is all about showing how your product/service can improve their current situation – How much would their situation improve right now?

Gratification Later

Very similar to the third point, this is all about exposing their pain in the status quo. However, rather than the short term, gratification later is all about showing how their future self will be improved. A great example of this would be a gym/fitness center advertisement. They always show “before and after” photos to illustrate how other peoples lives have changed after going to their gym. They want to show what the future could hold if you use their gym.

Overcoming this style of pain is all about showing how your product/service can improve their future situation – What does the best-case scenario look like for the customer in the long term?



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Author: Jason Karaman

Hello! I’m a marketing, sales, and customer service author, blogger and doer. I live in the South Carolina Lowcountry with my wife. I enjoy reading, writing, hiking, kayaking, and all things beach. For media inquiries, send an email to

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