Navigating your way through the tunnels of the oldest underground railroad in the world, the London Underground, you can’t miss the bright red and blue warnings signs, “Mind the Gap”. Because some platforms are curved, and the trains that use them are straight, an unsafe gap is created when a train stops at a curved platform. Visual warnings are also stenciled along the edges of the platforms and auditory warnings can be heard in that unmistakable English accent, warning, “Please, Mind the Gap”, advising passengers of the risk of being caught unaware and the possibility of sustaining injury by stepping into the gap.
Identifying the Prospect’s Gap
In early opportunity development, the “prospect’s gap” is exposed when they share a business objective, goal, or problem with us, which often begins a sales cycle. The gap is the space between where the future customer is now, and the place they want or need to be. Unfortunately, as we embark on sales opportunities day after day, we can easily become complacent about taking the time to really understand our prospect’s gap. Once they share a goal or need, our first inclination is to grab their hand and quickly leap across the gap, embarking on the “presentation train” where we can show them just how our product or service will meet their objective. The danger lies in the fact that we may not realize we’re are on the wrong train, until the end of the line when the “sale” comes to an abrupt stop. Time and money are often wasted, chasing sales which are out of alignment with what the prospect really wanted or needed in the first place. Slow down, Casey Jr.!
“Minding the Gap” with a Discovery Map
Ignoring the warning to “mind” your prospect’s gap could be reducing your chances of a successful arrival at your desired destination; closing the business. The word “mind” suggests, “to watch or give care to”. Similar to a map that can guide you through the London Underground, we have developed a tool to help you “mind the prospect’s gap”, called a Discovery Map. Experienced reps can use it as a guide to avoid complacency as they dangerously become “experts on what the prospect needs” because “it worked for someone else” instead of taking the time to discover the prospects unique circumstances. Inexperienced reps, who are just learning, to “watch or give care to” the gap, can use the tool as a discovery process to more thoroughly understand the prospect’s goals and objectives so that the presentation train they select is on the right track.
Closing the Gap: Clarity for the Path Forward
When utilized correctly, the outcome of conversations held during gap discovery will also become the genesis for the plan to close the gap and build a path forward, commonly known as an implementation plan. If you have done a thorough job using the Discovery Map, and the prospect is then willing to work on an implementation plan ( on how to USE your product or service) with you before the deal is closed, you will be in the driver’s seat. Lack of a willingness to do this tells you that there must be some items left to discuss in the prospect’s mind.
Let us help you develop a Discovery Map that you can hang up in your office as a reminder to “Mind the Gap” as you navigate a sale. If it works in the expansive Underground in London, isn’t it worth an inquiry to Flannery Sales Systems to get you to your final destination $uccessfully?