Finding the Pain

I have heard Steve Lewitt speak on several occasions. I don’t know specifically if he is a Sandler Sales expert…but when I read his newsletter I saw a lot of similarities. The idea of finding the clients pain is a classic Sandler technique and in this guest article from Steve we see how he helps us apply this to our practice.

Steve Lewit’s Selling World

Key Landmine #1:
Clients have little emotional motivation to make a change

This is a research based landmine.

It says that people are either moving away from those things that cause them pain, or they are moving towards those things they feel they are missing in their lives. These are emotional urges, and of the two, the drive to reduce or eliminate pain is most predominant.

In our business, we are seeking to see if the client’s pain is so strong that he or she is no longer willing to live with it, what I call a “breakthrough pain”. If clients are able and willing to live with their pain, they will not make any changes and you should disqualify these clients as your sale will end with a “think about it”. We are looking for real toothache type pain, where the person doesn’t just take an aspirin but instead goes to the dentist to get an extraction or some other solution. The rule here is “no pain equals no sale”. Always defuse this Landmine first and foremost.

Key Landmine #2:
Each meeting begins with an Up-Front Agreement that the meeting must end with a clear “Yes”, a clear “No” or a scheduled Next Appointment

Prospects know that they can always fall back on their most reliable stall tactic—to “think about it.” To avoid doing a lot of work only to lose your client to this most common stall, you need to change the rules of the game.

By getting agreement from your client that they will give you clear decisions at the end of each and every meeting you establish a different and more satisfying rule that delivers what you want—no “think about its.” It’s your job to stand by the rules that you and your clients agree on. So, if your client can’t give you a clear “yes” or “no”, then you must get another appointment in the books. If the client won’t make that appointment then you know it’s a stall. Your job is then to go for the “no” and make sure that you get what you and your client agreed to—a clear decision or a clear direction. Remember that the rule is “no chasing.” That means you must get clear decisions.

Key Landmine #3:
Prospects must be willing to leave their adviser

When clients feel “married” to their current adviser you could give them the best plan in the world and they just won’t have the courage to leave. Financial professionals waste extraordinary amounts of time working with clients who are never going to move from their current adviser.

I suggest eliminating this landmine very early in the first meeting. Just ask when they sat down with their current adviser if they liked the “fix-it” plan that the adviser prepared for them. In most cases they will tell you that they never had that conversation and they never got a “fix-it” plan. You could then suggest that their meeting with you might be premature in that, perhaps, they would prefer going back to their current adviser since they are so comfortable with him. 99.9% of the time they will tell you all the reasons that their current adviser didn’t get the job done for them. In other words, by having your client consider going back to their adviser they actually create a self-imposed wedge, opening the door for their doing business with you.


Selling landmines come in all shapes and sizes. Focusing on these three Key Landmines will save you time, energy and increase the quality and success of your meetings.


About Jeffrey Berson

40 years in and around the industry has made Insurance a part of my DNA. I have had the pleasure of working with and for some of the greatest minds in our industry. My "Bersonal" View is an attempt to capture some of the best ideas, the best concepts and the best practices in a way that can lead to success for others. It will certainly be my point of view, so please...don't take it "Bersonal".
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1 Response to Finding the Pain

  1. Kevin M Daley says:

    This is a very good article in that it gets to the root of the issue. It is not often that we comment on articles such as this however this article gives good information and ultimately benefits the reader. Thank You

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