Did you know that psychologists and sociologists have repeatedly found that people are more motivated to avoid pain than to seek pleasure?

Your target market experiences its own unique frustrations and pains. The secret to maximizing your attraction factor is to articulate the worries, frustrations and concerns that you solve. As the old adage states, “People don’t care what you know, until they know that you care.” Truly identifying your market’s predicament tells them that you understand and empathize with them.

The Pain-Into-Gain Riddle

How will clients hire you unless they trust you?

How, in turn, will they trust ideas they have not heard?

How, in turn, will they hear without someone to speak?

How, in turn, will you speak unless you have a solution?

How, in turn, will you have a solution unless you understand their pain?

How will you understand their pain unless you listen?


If you are a consultant who struggles with marketing, you are not alone. Many independent consultants are tired of the rejection, frustration and mystery of marketing.

There is a better way to attract clients. The secret is to turn their pain into your gain. Start by asking clients about their pains. Then gather information on how to solve those worries, frustrations and concerns.

Let us ask you this (now be honest): Do you really understand the problems of your prospects and clients? Or do you just think you know? Make no doubt about it, the stakes are high. Wrong marketing messages will cost you potential clients and lead to more struggles and frustration.

So here’s how to become a new client magnet. Each group of prospects experiences its own unique frustrations and pains. What’s the secret to crafting a marketing message that will maximize your attraction factor? Ask them (or have someone ask for you) about their pains. Start by asking a sample about their ideal business, and then segue into problems. Listen carefully to the exact words they use (you will want to mimic them in your marketing messages).

Christ Stiehl, a marketing research consultant and my co-author on Pain Killer Marketing, created this tool. When you interview some current, past and potential clients about the pains you solve, here are 10 questions you should always ask:

  1. Describe for me the “ideal” experience with a ____________ (your profession or line of consulting). How do most compare to this ideal?
  2. Describe for me a recent time that the experience was less than ideal.
  3. What are the three most important aspects of doing business with a___________.
  4. If I said a __________ was a good value, what would that mean to you?
  5. In what ways does dealing with a  _________ cost you besides money (time, hassle, effort, etc.)?
  6. What is the biggest pain about working with a _________.
  7. Would you recommend a  _________ to a friend or colleague? Why, or why not?
  8. How does working with a _________ help you make money?
  9. What does a _________ do really well?
  10. If you had the opportunity to work with a ________ again, would you? Why, or why not?