Why Your Opportunity Requires Dissatisfaction

Anthony Iannarino
Post by Anthony Iannarino
May 8, 2010

DissatisfactionThere are dozens of reasons that deals stall, but none more prevalent than simply failing to either elicit dissatisfaction or failure to create it.

Dissatisfaction is a prerequisite to every sale. Without it, your pipeline will be full of “opportunities” that our old enough to apply for their temporary driver’s license.

Here are three reasons your opportunities require dissatisfaction.

It Provides the Reason to Change

Dissatisfaction provides the reason (or better still, reasons) that your dream client would make the decision to change. If your dream client is completely satisfied in every way, there is nothing that would compel them towards change—regardless of how wonderful a salesperson you are, how spectacular your offering really is, or how much you want the opportunity to work with them.

A salesperson must have a set of power questions that elicits and uncovers dissatisfaction. During an opportunity review, the salesperson must be able to answer the question: “What is this dream client’s dissatisfaction?” If there isn’t dissatisfaction that provides a compelling reason to change, it is doubtful that what you have is an opportunity.

It Provides the Motivation to Change

Without dissatisfaction, there is no urgency to change. A little dissatisfaction provides a little motivation to change. A massive amount of dissatisfaction creates an equally massive motivation to change.

During an opportunity review, you must be able to answer the question: “How much of a motivation does this dissatisfaction provide?” Even better still is the question: “What (or How much) is this dissatisfaction costing the dream client?” The answers to these questions can help you to determine how likely it is the opportunity will move towards a deal, as well as how quickly the deal will move forward.

It Provides the Narrative to Your Story

Your presentation to the client is far more powerful if it includes a narrative. It is more powerful if it presents the story of the dream client now, with all of their dissatisfaction,  and where they will be in the future, after you have together made the changes that resolve the dissatisfaction.

Your dream client’s dissatisfaction provides the context for your story—and for your solution.

Salespeople often underestimate how important it is that their solution explains exactly how the story progresses, how their solution directly solves the dream client’s dissatisfaction. Even if your solution makes perfect sense to you, your story provides a vision and understanding of how your solution will improve your dream client’s outcomes in a way that is easy to understand, easy to remember, and easy to share with others.


Dissatisfaction is a prerequisite to any sale. It provides the compelling reason for your dream client to change, it provides the motivation to change, and the narrative that good storytelling requires. Real opportunities don’t exist without dissatisfaction.


    1. How do you elicit dissatisfaction? What questions do you ask?

    1. How do you create dissatisfaction when it doesn’t exist? How do you create it when it should exist?

    1. Why isn’t it enough to have a really great product or service?

    1. How do you use dissatisfaction to fuel the motivation to change? How do you use dissatisfaction to move deals forward faster?

    1. What part of a dream client’s dissatisfaction belongs in your narrative? How does it provide the structure to the presentation of your story and your solution?

  1. Which “opportunities” in your pipeline are really still just target prospects because you failed to elicit or create dissatisfaction?

Sales 2010
Post by Anthony Iannarino on May 8, 2010
Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.
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