What red pain point do you solve?
My client began with apologies and excuses why he had not done any work since our last session. No preparation of new material for us to work on, no reading of the suggested documents and no time to practice what we had worked on in the first three sessions. He looked at me like he had no idea what we could do (I could feel his pain!) and asked me if I had something planned.
Naturally I had an idea. I looked at him and said, “I am happy you wore a red polo shirt because we are going to work on that color which your presentation, products, and message lacks.
Then I pulled out my smartphone and showed him a screenshot of a question that I had seen on Speakers’ Corner – a closed FB group for professional speakers. The question was “What’s the one big pain point/problem your speech solves?”
First I confirmed my native French client understood the meaning of pain point, and he said he was familiar with it as it is used in French now too. I emphasized that pain, like pleasure, are both sources of what I call “red emotions”. For example, the word “Love” always evokes rich red emotions because it is a universal source of pain or pleasure.
I also gave my client the example of “a fractured team” which when heard could evoke the painful memory or image of a fractured leg, arm, or team in the mind of someone in the audience. Then I waited for his answer.
Words flowed and I scribbled down the key words in his reponses…trust, confidence, more pleasure, added-value, be appreciated, self-improvement, better understanding, recognition of their skills. I stopped him and said, “These are benefits. Where is the pain? What’s the red emotion behind all this? Where do the people you help feel pain or pleasure?”
A light-bulb went on in his head, and he told me his marketing coach had also advised him to add stories to his presentation. When I asked for a story, he told me about a real experience in a company with a group of highly skeptical employees. These employees, who felt they had seen it all before, scoffed at the lively enthusiasm of a newbie employee during one of my client’s workshops. As my client told the story his body and voice came alive producing an engaging demonstration of red emotions and a lot of physical and vocal energy.
We celebrated this outpouring of good colorful communication when he stopped. In the flow of the moment, he added the catchy line “Hey you, newbie!” to title this anecdote which had erupted into our session.
We debriefed the story and I suggested some improvements. Then I showed my client the answers that professional speakers had left on FB for the same question I had asked him. And we noticed that, like him, many respondents had stated benefits rather than red emotional pain. However, others clearly expressed pain and evoked emotions in their answers e.g. “I kill excuses”, “I am a fear buster”, “I reduce the level of anxiety, stress, self-doubt and self-criticism of end users”.
My client jotted down for himself a new vision of his coaching business: I kill fatalism and defeatism. This shifted his perspective on his business and opened up new insights into how to approach and sell his coaching programmes. This might not be his final choice, but the language is no longer about benefits which is a big step.
To connect to your audience you need to spark red emotions and fan the fires of pain or pleasure before you can sell the benefits of your service, product, or message.
When I got home, I realized that I had never done this exercise myself. My passion for public speaking blinds me and I always pitch the benefits of my Speak-the-Rainbow™ method. I took a piece of paper and crossed out “I help people communicate with more confidence, impact, and color” and wrote “I kill lousy monotonous speeches and the dread of public speaking.”. The pain is real.
Acknowledging the pain of your customer or audience is a vital step to a colorful connection. So ask yourself the question, “What’s the red pain point that you solve?”
And If you need someone to kill defeatism and fatalism in your organization, my client is your man. And of course, I can help you kill your lousy speaking habits.