Fear, Pain and Opportunity

If you’re in the mood for pitching a product or a business case, you need to press the right buttons. Customers – and Stakeholders – only buy for 3 reasons.

1. Fear

2. Pain

3. Opportunity

Geoff Moore said ‘find something that absolutely terrifies them’ and he’s right – the easiest path to winning a business case or selling a product is to frame the alternative as unthinkable.

The second one you’ll see feature on product canvases and user design processes; irritation, frustration and friction in their day to day.
The third one is not a safe bet. It may inspire you and give you a sense of higher purpose but it rarely sells well.


Because humans are hardwired to avoid pain far more than to chase opportunity. We ran from sabre tooth tigers way more often than we chased butterflies.

The result? Most corporate buyers won’t buy a mission, a vision or the right thing to do unless it has teeth.
And those teeth come in the shape of fear or pain.

Have your say: how do you influence stakeholders or buyers?

PS: Here are 4 ways that I can help you start doing business differently:

  • Mentor Human Resources leaders
  • Leadership confidence Coach
  • Facilitate Change conversations
  • Advise HR suppliers

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