Everyone's A Salesperson
By Brian Tracy
All top executives are excellent salespeople. All effective employees use sales techniques to get their coworkers and bosses to cooperate with them in getting the job done. Everyone who is effective in virtually any area of life that involves other people is an excellent salesperson of some kind.
The basis for all successful sales efforts is a discipline called gap analysis. Gap analysis is clearly defining what your idea, product, or service can do for a person and then deciding how to demonstrate that in a compelling way.
The very best persuaders, communicators, and salespeople are those who concentrate their attention on identifying the exact gap that exists and determining how big it is. They then focus on widening that gap in every possible way, until the prospect begins to feel more and more dissatisfied with his or her current situation and more and more desirous of enjoying the preferable situation that is achievable by the use of the product, service, or idea.
The most astute salespeople are those who are capable of finding a small gap and then expanding it into a wide gap. They are capable of discovering a small problem or dissatisfaction in the mind of the prospect and then, by questioning and commenting, increase it until the prospect develops an intense desire for the solution they are offering.
When you meet prospects for the first time, you will find that they are usually unaware that a gap exists between where they are and where they could be. They will often say things like, “I’m not interested,” or “I can’t afford it,” or “We’re quite happy with our current situation.” These are normal and natural responses. No one likes to change. Your job is to describe a state of even greater satisfaction that they could enjoy if they did something different. Virtually all advertising is aimed at showing people how much better off they could be with a product or service that they have not yet acquired.
Gap analysis is based on asking good questions — questions focused on discovering problems that might be troubling the prospect. There is a direct correlation between the use of good questioning techniques and sales success. The more and better questions you ask aimed at finding a problem or uncovering dissatisfaction, the more interest the prospect will have and the more sales you will make. The person who asks questions has control.
Good salespeople always plan the wording of their questions, rewriting them and practicing them before they get face-to-face with a prospect. Poor salespeople, on the other hand, make up their questions as they go along.
One question is an application of the “magic-want technique.” Imagine that you have a magic wand that you can wave over the prospect and you ask this question: “Mr. Prospect, if this situation were absolutely perfect in every respect, what would it look like?” Then remain completely silent. When the prospect begins to describe that perfect situation, you’ll uncover the gaps you can fill to create his ideal future. When you explain how your product or service can bridge those gaps, you will greatly enhance your chances of making a sale.
A great set of questions begins with the words What if? For example, you can ask, “What if we could achieve this particular result for you; what effect would that have on your current operations?” Good questions that grab the prospect’s attention will start him or her visualizing and imagining an ideal future state, exactly the state that your product or service is meant to achieve.
A final key to effective selling through gap analysis is to share some of the experiences of people who have previously purchased your product or service. Use third-party references, testimonials, and anecdotes. Say something like, “I have a very good customer who had a similar situation to yours not long ago.” Then go on to explain how your customer was able to rectify that situation in a cost-effective way by accepting your recommendation.
The wonderful thing about selling is that it is a learned skill. And the more effective you are at selling, the more successful you will be in every area of your life.
About the Author
Brian Tracy is the bestselling author of more than 42 books, published in 40 countries and translated into dozens of languages. Brian is a world renowned speaker and seminar leader, addressing more than 250,000 people each year throughout the US, Canada and in 40 other countries.
Brian is Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, and President of Brian Tracy University, a private on-line University for Sales and Entrepreneurship. He can be reached at www.briantracy.com, www.briantracyu.com or 858-481-2977.