Unless you are a naturally born product pusher, you should be aware of the power of gap analysis.
This tool is one of the primary techniques used by the B2B Sales Superstars. What is really great is it is a simple process. It is basically a five step process.
Yes, three steps and you can get a customer focused upon the possibilities for success due to listening and buying from you.
Here is how this simple “Gap Analysis” works…
- Learn about the current status or situation
This is very basic and always a starting point using both research and the questioning model of b2b selling to uncover what is happening now. It is a primary function to learn details of the current environment, processes and status of today’s situation.
- Learn about the desired or future situation
Now you are going after the vision or desired picture of the future on the part of the decision maker. Here you must be using the questioning model to uncover THEIR thoughts, concerns and issues. You should look for what the decision maker has used recently or in the past to move toward their ideal and the impact on results.
- Determine the size of the Gap
Two things of note here. One, if the gap is huge, then the decision maker may believe the closing of this gap is highly unlikely – this is actually a major reason for declining opportunities for improvement. Two, if the gap is too small, the decision maker may feel they can close the gap using in-house solutions or feel the gap will close automatically through their efforts. Therefore, it is in your best interests to find gaps in the mid range – a gap that is wide enough for the decision maker to consider an outside solution, yet, not so big the decision maker believes there is no chance of closing it in a reasonable amount of time.
- Determine If and How you can Close the Gap
True is sometimes you will find a type of gap that you cannot close due to timing, expertise needed or available resources to utilize in your solution. If you cannot close the gap, tell the decision maker you cannot and move on to another target. Just because you want to do business with a company does not guarantee a business fit. If you can – in these situations – refer the decision maker to someone who can help them close the gap. You will be surprised how much the decision maker will respect you for this move. In fact, later when they do need what you offer, you will be at the top of their short list of people to call.
- Offer a Solution with a Credible ROI
This is the key to winning the account. Offer a solution with a positive return on investment and you will be in business. Please remember to be conservative in your numbers and approach. A “Blue Sky” number will only create a risk issue for the decision maker. Be conservative in your estimates and then exceed their expectations in the delivery of results. Oh, and be sure to have a review meeting to show your results. An even better way to solidify the future is to have their people generate the numbers for comparison to your projections. When you beat their expectations and their number crunchers proof it, you will have a long term account – all due to the Gap Analysis Process.
There you have the simple five step method or process for using the Gap Analysis in your B2B Sales efforts. As a consultative seller, the gap analysis should be your number one tool used for your b2b sales success.
Practice this process until you get it down and can easily recognize gaps in performance leading to problems and negative consequences in the customer’s operations.