Find The Gap, Measure the Gap – by Jim Keenan

I often hear salespeople and sales leaders express their frustration with not getting deals closed or their inability to get prospects to move through the sales cycle. The “gone silent,” stuck deals drive them crazy. It’s one of the most common discussions I have with sales organizations.

Deals get stuck for lots of reasons, one of the big ones is because no one is finding the gap or measuring the gap. The gap is the space between where the client is today vs where they want to be tomorrow.

The gap influences everything. The bigger the gap the greater the return. Big gaps can also mean greater complexity, more change, and more money. The smaller the gap, the smaller the return. Small gaps, however, should offer less risk, should be less expensive and be less complex. Whether customers or prospects are aware or not, the gap plays a heavy role in their decision to buy or not, as well as how they buy. Do they move quickly or slowly? Do they get a lot of people involved or no one involved? The gap can’t be ignored.

To identify the gap requires a solid understanding of where the customer is today,

  • how they do things
  • why they do them that way
  • what the current outcomes are
  • what they are connected to
  • the impact to the organization is
  • who is affected

The next part is to understand where they want to go tomorrow,

  • how do they want to do things tomorrow
  • why do they want to do them that way
  • what are the new expected outcomes
  • what will the new solution be connected to
  • whats the new impact to the organization
  • who is affected

Once the existing state is compared with future or desired state a gap should occur. It’s simple math; FS (future state)-ES (existing state)=Gap

Once you know the gap, measure it;

  • Is it big or small?
  • Can you quantify it in
  • dollars
  • time
  • units
  • ??
  • Is it tangible
  • Does it affect a lot of people?
  • Is it a lot of work or a little?
  • Will it change everything or just a few things?
  • Who does it affect and how many people does it affect?

There’s your gap. 

If the gap is small, yet the cost is expensive, the change is complex, or the risk is high, the sale isn’t gonna happen. If the gap is large and the cost is inexpensive, the change simple or the risk low, the sale will fly. If the gap is small and the cost is inexpensive, the change simple and the risk low, you’re on track. It’s a good deal. Stay focused, point out the benefits and move the deal. If the gap is big yet the deal is expensive, the change is complex or the risk is high, it’s gonna be a long sale. You’re on the right track, but it’s gonna take work. Work to minimize the risk, simplify the effort and keep them focused on the vision.

When you’re selling, focus on the gap, zero in on the change, and target the impact. The gap is what influences how people buy. The gap creates the vision. The gap creates the baseline or the comparison from what we have to today to what we’ll have tomorrow. It triggers the emotion. Focus on the gap and selling becomes much easier.

The gap is at the root of everything.

Jim Keenan’s bio: 20-plus years of experience selling, teaching people how to sell, finding the Elephant in the room, being an agitator, making his number, helping people make their numbers, solving customer problems (not just customer problems, but all problems). He’s a Dad, PSIA Level 2 Certified Ski Instructor at Vail, and Senior Partner and Founder of A Sales Guy Consulting; he’s also the author of the sensational sales book Not Taught: What it Takes to be Successful in the 21st Century that Nobody’s Teaching You.  If that’s not enough, he says, he’s in trouble.  You’ll find him at his website, asalesguyconsulting.com, or his blog, asalesguy.com or philanthropically saving the world of sales with killer sales resources at asalesguyu.com.

 

Get your free preview of Chapter 1 from Selling Fearlessly.

Check out the 86 reviews for Selling Fearlessly at Amazon.com.