If you’re in sales, you need to know, understand, and leverage the gap. The gap is the figurative distance between where a customer is right now and where they want to be—their current and future states. Your product or service should be the thing that fills this gap and gets the buyer to their future state. However, sometimes prospects don’t see their future or current state as clearly or think they’re so close to it that they don’t need you. Your sales methodologies should focus on approaching this gap and widening it throughout your process. Here are a few tips you can leverage to widen the gap.
Compare the Buyer’s Future State to Their Current State
Imagine you’re going in to buy a new pair of running shoes. You aren’t searching for specific shoes, but your old ones are falling apart, so you need another pair. You tell the salesperson you want whatever is cheapest. You’ve never used fancy shoes anyway. The current gap between you and a new pair of shoes is $60, maybe $100 max.
However, the salesperson asks you about how you feel after your runs. Well, come to think of it, you’ve always thought soreness and shin splints were part of the running experience. But then they show you a pair of running shoes that can help you feel pain-free and maybe even run further. The salesperson widens the gap by showing you a future state that’s further away than simply “an old worn-out pair of shoes.” But even though the future state of pain-free running seems further and more expensive, it’s worth it, and now you’re ready to throw down twice as much money to run further, faster, with zero pain. That’s worth an extra $50 or $100.
Whether you’re selling shoes or software, you can have this same effect on buyers. The best in-person and virtual sales training can help you become a master at uncovering the future state your product can enable.
Use Specific Details to Demonstrate Value
Providing specific details is key to defining the gap for your potential buyer. With our shoe salesperson before, they aren’t satisfied when you tell them you want “new shoes.” They ask deeper questions like “How many miles do you want to run each week?” and, “What shoes do you currently use?” And they will definitely ask, “What’s your current mile time?”
They want specific details about your needs so they have a better idea of the value they can provide. They don’t use generic, product-centric terminology that could apply to any customer either. Instead of saying their shoes are comfortable or stylish, the salesperson will sell you boosting mile times by an average of 30 seconds all while protecting your shins and feet from the excess force. If your sales methodologies don’t involve exploring specific details, you won’t help the buyer understand the real value they gain from purchasing from you.
The Best Sales Methodologies Involve Doing a Deeper Discovery
Additional discovery will help you turn a small gap into a huge one. Generally, you want to learn as much about the buyer’s current state and their desired future state as possible. You also want to discover things the buyer themselves didn’t even know. Your shoe salesperson doesn’t stop after asking you what shoe size you are. They try to find out more and more.
Your gap currently isn’t wide enough to convince you to buy $500 running shoes. But what if the salesperson asks about the race you’re running soon. That race has a $50,000 payout. They let you know that every winner of that race has used those $500 shoes. They shave 20% off your time and keep you running at full speed for longer. Now, those $500 shoes are looking mighty attractive. That is because the salesperson dug deeper and made a discovery that widened your gap and then sold to that gap, convincing you that you can’t afford to spend $60 on yet another pair of mediocre running shoes.
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