Pain: The Key to An Effective Value Proposition

I have never bought — and probably never will buy — a tablecloth.

Those flowing pieces of fabric have been a source of great personal agony.

And this suffering can be explained with a single word.


Sitting at a table and waiting for an impending wrinkle to appear as someone carelessly slides a dish to their neighbor can easily ruin an otherwise pleasant dining experience.

If someone offered me a product that solved the tablecloth wrinkle epidemic I would buy it without hesitation.

When you relieve your customers’ pain you are doing them a favor.

But before you can pitch it in a way that speaks to them you must truly understand the torment they are experiencing.

Their True Pain Source

What is the root of your customers’ pain?

The answer to this question may not always be obvious.

For example, if you are selling nose-hair trimmers then it’s probably safe to assume that your customers have a problem with excessive nose hair. While this is a real issue, it is usually not a motivating factor on its own.

So what reasons could your customer have for wanting to keep their nose hair trimmed and out of sight?

– Do they have trouble breathing through the briar patch protruding from their nostrils?

– Does their spouse threaten to leave them for someone who looks less like a wombat?

– Or perhaps, their nose hair was set on fire one too many times while attempting to blow out a candle?

Once you determine the true source of their pain, you can show them that they don’t have to live like that anymore — that they too can experience the joys of living in the 21st century.

Crafting Your Message

As you begin to define your value proposition you might find the PAS copywriting formula to be helpful.

The PAS formula involves three parts:

1) Problem: Pinpointing the problem
2) Agitate: Illustrating the issue
3) Solve: Offering a solution

So if we go back to our previous nose hair example, our pitch might look something like this:

“Are you tired of being suffocated by your nose hair? Does your spouse gaze longingly at old photos of your smooth nostrils? Do you miss the days when you could blow out candles without having your snout go up in flames?

We understand what it’s like to yearn for the delicate nostrils of your youth.

You wish you could turn back the clock but unfortunately, those days are long gone and they are not coming back…or are they?

Tackle your out-of-control nose hair and reclaim your sleep, your spouse and your love of candles.

Check out the most powerful nose-hair trimmers on the market today.”

If your product can effectively relive your customer’s problem then describing its value should be pretty straightforward.

Pain doesn’t have to be a bad thing — especially when you hold the solution.

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