Customer Pains ≠Features ≠ Benefits

Almost every startup I work with has a hard time keeping Pains, Gains, and Features separated in their heads.  This is a natural challenge, but overcoming it is critical!

Pains…
* Impact your customer’s ability to Get/Keep/Grow their own customers
* Impact your customer’s cost structure negatively (may hurt their profit margins, may create inconvenient cash flow situations, etc).
* For consumer facing startups pains can also impact a core emotion.

But don’t confuse that with HOW you solve the problem.

Example 1: Let’s imagine a consultant offering supply chain management solutions.  But Supply chain management isn’t the PAIN, it is a set of FEATURES.  His customers don’t have an amorphous “supply chain management issue.”  They have issues like…

* Cost structure >> paying too much for supplies
* Cust. Relationships: GET >> time it takes to get supplies makes our turn-around time slow, meaning we are losing market share to faster competitors
* Cust. Relationships: KEEP >> supplies that showed up from china are WRONG, so we’re going to miss our promised deadline to our customer… possibly costing us the customer

Example 2:  A consultant to retirement centers helping their staffs better communicate with hard of hearing clients.  Training on how to communicate with hard of hearing people is a FEATURE.  Her customers don’t wake up thinking they have a core business problem with that.  But they do worry about…
* Cost structure >> High employee turnover due to frustration w/ communicating with our clients means we spend a lot of time & money training new people, lowering the productivity and profitability of our company.
*  Cust. Relationships: GET >> Word is getting out that we yell at our patients, which is turning of the high-end families we really want to attract…
*  Cust. Relationships: GROW >> Because we can’t communicate clearly to our hard of hearing patrons, we can’t up sell them any of the great offerings we have available for them and they are less likely to refer friends to us.

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