Gap Selling Book Summary - Gap Selling Book explained in key points
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Gap Selling summary


Getting the Customer to Yes: How Problem-Centric Selling Increases Sales by Changing Everything You Know About Relationships, Overcoming Objections, Closing and Price

4.1 (90 ratings)
12 mins

Brief summary

Gap Selling by Keenan is a sales book that focuses on identifying and closing the gaps in the buyer's current situation. It provides practical advice to help sales professionals better understand customer needs and sell more effectively.

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    Gap Selling
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    Selling with substance

    Picture this. You work in the sales department of a supplier that sells plumbing supplies to contractors in your region. You contact a contractor who approaches you saying he needs 1000 feet of new metal piping for an upcoming job retrofitting pipes in an older high rise building.

    You jump right to asking questions to qualify budget and authority. So far, so good. You launch into a slick pitch on your piping products, touting features and benefits. Then what? You'd pull out spec sheets with pressure tolerances and chemical resistance data, confident this thorough information dump will clinch the sale.

    But despite all the specs, the contractor seems indifferent. The information isn't resonating. You hammer him with a high-pressure closing technique like "If you need new piping that meets these specs, why not go with my brand you can trust?" But you can sense his hesitation.

    The deal falls apart. 

    What happened? You did everything "right" according to old-school selling theory. But you totally missed the customer's real problems.

    The old playbook of the past – promoting features, building rapport, and pressing for closes — no longer works. Today's buyers have endless access to product information and can see through sales tactics. Your slick pitch now falls on deaf ears.

    To succeed today, you need to embrace a completely new approach – gap selling. This method focuses on deeply understanding your buyer's problems first, then demonstrating how you can bridge the gaps to a solution. 

    The first and most critical step in gap selling is diagnosing your buyer's current state. This means diving deep into the true problems they face day-to-day. Many sales reps make the mistake of taking the buyer's stated needs at face value. But you can only create real value by digging beneath the surface issues to uncover your buyer's core strategic problems.

    Let’s look at our plumbing supplier example once again and how you might use a gap selling approach. Instead of jumping straight into product features, you begin the call by asking probing questions about the contractor's current problems and goals. Why are they replacing the pipes in this building? What issues have they faced with the existing pipes? How will new pipes improve things?

    In asking these questions, you discover the 50 year old building has galvanized steel pipes that corrode easily, leading to leaks and rusty water. This requires costly repairs and hurts tenants. This in turn creates problems for the contractors down the road, who face problems of reputation and liability. The contractor wants to head off these problems by using pipes that won't corrode from the city's acidic water.

    Now the problem is clear. Your polymer-coated pipes resist corrosion much better than unprotected metal pipes. You share relevant case studies and pipe life comparison charts and you show that your pipes are superior. But the core value is clear – your pipes directly address the corrosion issues.

    By taking time to uncover the real problem instead of launching into a product pitch, you can tailor your solution and clearly demonstrate how it closes the customer's gaps. The contractor is now fully engaged in how your product alleviates their pain points, and you close the sale.

    This is the power of gap selling. The sale happens naturally once you close the customer's gaps.

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    What is Gap Selling about?

    Gap Selling (2019) challenges traditional sales techniques that have frustrated generations of salespeople. Dispensing with platitudes, it advocates techniques that create value and establish influence throughout the sales process. Liberating salespeople from the role of order-takers beholden to capricious buyers, it provides a bold new framework for sales success in the modern era. 

    Gap Selling Review

    Gap Selling (2018) by Keenan is a must-read for anyone in sales who wants to take their game to the next level. Here's why this book is worth your time:

    • With its straightforward and practical approach, it offers actionable strategies to close the gap between the prospect's current situation and their desired outcome.
    • Keenan's use of real-life examples and relatable stories brings the concepts to life, making it easy to understand and apply in your own sales conversations.
    • The book challenges traditional sales methods with its unique insights and fresh perspective, keeping readers engaged and excited about implementing new techniques.

    Who should read Gap Selling?

    • Sales professionals looking to improve their skills and effectiveness
    • Business owners wanting to increase sales and revenue
    • Anyone in a client-facing role aiming to build trust and relationships

    About the Author

    Keenan is the CEO of A Sales Guy Inc. and author of the bestselling Not Taught. Named one of the top social sellers by Forbes and a Top 50 sales influencer by Top Sales World Magazine, Keenan's insights on modern sales success have been featured in Harvard Business Journal, Huffington Post, and Inc. 

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    Gap Selling FAQs 

    What is the main message of Gap Selling?

    The main message of Gap Selling is to focus on uncovering and understanding the gap between a prospect's current situation and their desired future state.

    How long does it take to read Gap Selling?

    The reading time for Gap Selling varies depending on the reader. However, the Blinkist summary of Gap Selling can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Gap Selling a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Gap Selling is a valuable read for anyone in sales. It provides actionable insights and strategies for identifying and closing sales gaps effectively.

    Who is the author of Gap Selling?

    The author of Gap Selling is Keenan.

    What to read after Gap Selling?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Gap Selling, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • 80/20 Sales and Marketing by Perry Marshall
    • The Financial Numbers Game by Charles W. Mulford
    • New Sales. Simplified. by Mike Weinberg
    • Sales EQ by Jeb Blount
    • Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy
    • You Were Born Rich by Bob Proctor
    • The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma
    • Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross & Marylou Tyler
    • Marketing 5.0 by Philip Kotler & Hermawan Kartajaya & Iwan Setiawan
    • Selling with Noble Purpose by Lisa Earle McLeod