Selling Comfort Instead of “Pain Points” Should Be Your Sales Strategy

By Gina Trimarco, Chief Results Officer

For several years I got sucked into the selling mantra (taught by the guru sales coaches and trainers) that emphasizes the need to highlight your prospects’ pain points to get them to buy from you. “Show them their ‘pain’ and then sell them a solution.”

In theory it made sense to me and yet it still felt manipulative.

Who really likes to buy because they’re in pain?

What I mean is that buying something to cure or solve a pain gives a sense of desperation and thus not being in control. While true that you can alleviate your clients’ problems with your products and services, do you really like bringing them into your organization this way?

What if you offered a solution in the frame of providing “comfort”?

It’s a completely different approach to the emotional sell (as we all know that emotions sell).

This came to me recently while traveling and even through my mother’s open heart surgery.

Here are some examples of what I mean:

The Hospital Patient:

During my mother’s three-week hospital stay she was pretty much “done”. Those were her exact words – “I’m done”. Talk about pain points. She was experiencing real, physical pain 24 hours a day.

She was poked and prodded so much that she eventually coined the phrase “Poke me, prod me, take me to your leader.” Every medical attendant made a point of emphasizing how “big” her surgery had been and how hard recovery would be even though they were there to reduce her pain.

And then one day she was visited by a Medical Resident came in and said “How can I make you more comfortable?” I wasn’t there for this interaction but she couldn’t wait to tell me about it (many times).

“Oh my goodness, what an amazing doctor. He asked me how he could make me more comfortable. He talked to me like I was a human. He was like one of those old fashioned doctors who really cared about making me feel better. I hope he comes back.”

I think that doctor came back one other time, but she was always waiting for him because he provided her with the comfort of human dignity. How do you measure the value of human dignity?! Who wouldn’t pay for THAT comfort?

And while this is not a true “sales transaction” experience (on the surface), it kind of is. Why? Because patients will tell other people about their “service” at that hospital and they will be surveyed by a third party for the hospital. The results of those surveys can have all sorts of financial impact on the hospital as a business.

The Business Traveler:

I do my fair share of business travel and I generally prefer to pay for comfort. Here’s my strategy and how I see value for price …

Delta vs Spirit:  While Spirit is the “no frills” airlines, it’s also the “no thrills” experience. One really bad experience turned me away. Picture the gate agent threatening to have me removed from my flight because she insisted my carry-on bag was too big even though I used to fly Spirit on a regular basis. And when I sent a letter the Spirit executives, their recovery was even worse. Clearly employees model the leadership in this business. I was actually scolded for not returning a phone call from Customer Service when they said to call back to address my letter. What?!

In my anger I vowed to find another airline carrier even if it meant I could no longer have direct flights year round out of Myrtle Beach. Wow, as I write this I am now realizing that I wanted the “comfort” of human dignity and respect because travel can be hard and painful. I want my travel experience to be a little fun and very comfortable.

Delta to the rescue. I always have an amazing experience with Delta. Every now and then things happen that are out of their control – maintenance issues, storms, etc. But they are ALWAYS consistently helpful and empathetic. For a recent maintenance issue they offered me a hotel (even though I chose to sleep at the airport at a Minute Suite). When my mother got sick, I had already booked several business trips that needed to be changed SEVERAL TIMES and they were amazing about accommodating the necessary changes.

AND I pay extra to be a Delta Skyclub member so that I can hang out in comfort, eat, drink, and use wifi in between flights now that I choose to have a longer travel day because Spirit sucks.

So, I pay more for my flights, it takes longer for me to travel and I pay to belong to an airport club. I pay for COMFORT instead of thinking about the “pain points” of travel.

Side note: I also applied and paid for TSA Pre-Check status. So worth the time and money involved.

The Entrepreneur or Business Decision Maker:

While this should be an obvious one, I’ve seen far too many businesses struggle to scale or profit because they stay in the “pain”, despite all the gurus telling them how to get out of pain.

Hmmmm …. Maybe if they were shown how COMFORT can help their businesses grow, they wouldn’t be as scared to take the risks of hiring people to help them (vs having one person do several jobs, burning out, quitting or going out of business) or purchasing other products and services that would improve productivity and sales.

I reached a point of discomfort in scaling our company when I was too scared to hire help. The fear of “What if I can’t make payroll?” consumed me. And then one day I realized we were losing business because we were doing things “half-assed” (yes, I said that). The second I hired a business manager, we instantly started generating more revenue in the first 24 hours – seriously. Granted, much of that revenue was in the works, but the doors opened wide when I could focus all my energy on the big picture. I had no excuses for not generating more business.

In time I went from a place of “What if we can’t make payroll?” to “What else can I move from my plate to hers so we can really go big?” And when my mother got sick, the team pulled together and the business continued to run while I was absent. Had I not expanded our team, we would have been in serious trouble.

The value of this COMFORT can’t really be measured. On so many levels my life is just easier because I have someone else to rely on.

The phrase “People will always pay for the things they need and want” is truly about paying for what they see as valuable comfort instead of pain. Think about those people who say they can’t afford your products or services and then turn around and go on vacation. Maybe you haven’t demonstrated the true value of what your company offers.

Just imagine how good it would feel if someone said “This will make you feel so good and provide you with such comfort.” instead of “If you don’t buy this you will fail (or die).” Which would inspire you more? Whether you’re a hospital patient or a business owner, “comfort” is an intangible item that makes people feel so good about the value being provided that the decision to buy becomes easy and desirable.

And where are you avoiding comfort in your own job or business because you’re stuck in the mindset of “pain”?

If you’re feeling stuck, it’s time to pivot! Reach out to get unstuck with us!


Gina Trimarco, Chief Results Officer, knows how toGina Trimarco, Pivot10 Results, Business Coach, Sales Trainer pivot to profits from problems and find joy through the process. Her philosophy is that performance pays and people need to be trained to perform on the stage of business to achieve results.

Gina successfully pivoted her coaching firm, Gina and Company, into the new Pivot10 Results, a training and development company that helps business teams to quickly adapt their communications and engagement skills in leadership, customer and sales to achieve results by providing them experiential learning tools and strategies.

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About the author

Gina Trimarco is a native of Chicago and CEO/Founder of Pivot10 Results and Carolina Improv Company. She has 25+ years of experience in marketing, sales, operations and people training. Gina combines street smarts and improv comedy skills with her experience in the corporate and entrepreneurial worlds, which sets her apart from her competition.

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