Finding your Ideal Client’s Pains and Gains

When you develop an Ideal Customer Profile for your business, try to figure out the emotional reasons that someone buys from you and determine the common pains they are trying to avoid or gains they are trying to acquire.

common pains

Common pains

Part of human nature is our drive to move away from anything painful. These pains may be physical but are more likely to be emotional pains such as irritations, frustrations, or fears. 

Here are common pains that we like to avoid:

  • Physical pain
  • Poor health
  • Low energy
  • Shame
  • Lack of money
  • Stress
  • Confusion
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Isolation or loneliness
  • Fear of failure
  • Low self-worth
  • Feeling unlikable or unloved
  • Poor results
  • Too much to-do, too little time

Pains are relevant even if you have a B2B company. Common pains that come up when selling a product or service that is mainly used at work include:

  • Lack of systems
  • Low profitability
  • Declining revenues
  • Inability to delegate
  • Overworked
  • Underpaid
  • Many of the pains listed above such as fear of failure, stress, confusion, etc.
Common gains

Common gains

On the opposite side, some people buy a product or service because they want to feel something positive. They have aspirations, desires, or needs.

Typical gains that attract people are:

  • Feeling beautiful or desirable
  • Feeling healthy and full of energy
  • Financial success
  • Helping others
  • Feeling loved by themselves or others
  • Pride in their accomplishments
  • Ease of use
  • Feeling relaxed
  • Feeling pampered or cared for
  • Status
  • Being seen as a leader
  • Providing for their family
  • Feel engaged and passionate

Like with the pains, even if you are selling to other businesses, there are common hopes and dreams:

  • Higher revenues or profits
  • Successfully hiring and managing employees
  • Less stress
  • Speeding up processes
  • Winning contracts and making sales

Pains, gains or both?

Depending on the type of business you have, your clients may be more focused on alleviating pain or motivated by their aspirations of gain. 

For example, if you are a dentist, some of your patients come to you because they are literally in pain if they have a cavity or need a root canal. Or, if you specialize in teeth whitening, you want to remind them of how beautiful and desirable they will look after you help them.

For most people, the human impulse to avoid pain is more substantial than pursuing positive gain. So reminding prospective buyers about their pains while showing them how your company removes the pain is an effective way to show the value of your product or service.

However, luxury brands and non-essential consumer products should focus more on the potential gains and less on the possible pain. For example, luxury cars spend less time promising reliability (avoiding the pain and cost of seeing a mechanic) and more about the status and comfort you get from the brand.

Translate your features into pains and gains

As you promote your product or service, remember to describe the emotional pains and gains more than just the features. 

For example, let’s say you are a business coach. Talk about how your approach improves profitability rather than just saying that you help people with their financial systems or work one-on-one with clients (both features of how you work). Then take it a step further and remind them how a more profitable company allows the business owner to feel less stressed, proud of their accomplishments, and provide for their family.