As an experienced Salesperson, I had my own methods and philosophy which worked and had made me a success in the past. I had been a top biller for many previous employers, and the notion that one book could change my thought process was unthinkable.
I remember the first time my CEO introduced me to Keenan’s “Gap Selling”. At first, I had my doubts: yet another sales guy trying to tell me that his way is the best.
But I was engrossed from the very first page. He came across like a man of integrity and his words had meaning. And everything I was reading connected with my way of thinking.
What I did not know at that time was how it would change my way of selling forever!
#1: You Don’t Matter!
Like many experienced salespeople, I thought my service offering was flawless; I felt like the power was in my hands. My offering was the best on the market so why wouldn’t every prospect want it?
But did I ever sit back and ask myself if they really needed what I had to offer?
I went on to understand that people would only buy if they had a need. It was human nature.
Why would someone go to a mechanic of their car wasn’t broken? To have a need, they would need to have a problem that a salesperson’s solution solved.
No matter how much of a nice guy I was or how friendly I was with prospects, it didn’t matter one bit.
No problem, no need for a solution.
#2: Problem Centric
Like most, I have also been on the end of sales calls. People offering me insurance, people offering me new cars etc...
Having to listen to someone ramble on about how much their product/service was going to change my life. Annoying right?!
Unfortunately, this is common, and I even admit in the past I had sold in a similar way. Pitching is annoying garbage and you’ll just end up sounding like every other salesperson your prospect has had to listen to.
Now that I understood that prospects would only buy if they have a need, Keenan went on to explain that pitching had to stop. Stop pitching and start investigating! It was paramount from now on that I got my prospects to identify to themselves they had a problem, that was the key.
Once they had realisation that they had a problem my product/service could fix, it would be game on.
#3: Tell me & What are?
But if I wasn’t pitching, how could I get a prospect to realise they had a problem? We all know what closed questions are. Well, Keenan’s way was different.
Tell and What was a game changer. Tell me a bit about… What are you….
It was a new way of thinking, gathering as much information about the prospects business or situation by getting them talking.
Understanding their current state as much as you can will eventually unravel a problem, in most cases.
A Mechanic would already know what problems they can fix but without asking the owner “Tell me a bit about how the car drives”, “What are you going to do if it cant be fixed?” Could they truly understand the problem and the problem the broken car is causing in enough detail?
Getting the prospect to go through in their own mind “Oh, you know what, yes that is a problem” or “Yes if that was changed, I would make more revenue” This was great; the whole gap selling methodology really made sense and I wondered why it hadn’t been done this way before.
#4: Active Listening
Ultimately these probing questions were great for getting prospects talking, but not all problems came to light in a single question.
I had to listen, and not like when my partner is telling me what she did at work that day, I mean really listen!
Listening and using the information provided to ask another but different probing question.
Active listening would give me the power to identify where a problem could potentially lay.
Understanding a prospect’s current state could never be done enough. It was key to identifying the change required so they could reach their goals. Future state.
#5: Finding The Gap
Keenan uses a story about a guy who has a headache and how a salesperson has a pill to cure that headache.
Simply asking if he has a headache may get a sale, but understanding the problem the headache is creating will determine the value of the pill/solution.
The gap is the difference between the current state and the future state and depending on how big the gap is, determines how valuable your service/product is to them.
If the headache was stopping someone going for a walk, the pill may be worth £5 but if the headache was stopping someone signing a £1m contract-where they would earn £50k bonus, then the value of that pill is worth more to them. No Gap no Sale.
The book was fantastic!! “Gap Selling” had changed my way of thinking forever.
Ultimately, it was like the old saying “The size of the prize” but it was now “The size of the problem” and I couldn’t wait to put my new skills into practice.
Thankfully for me, Keenan had a live online training session recently which I enrolled in. For any salesperson who, like me, loves personal development, I would highly recommend Gap Selling.
It will open up your eyes to a whole new approach.
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