Gap Selling

Jim Keenan

Gap Selling



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Every sale relies on a gap, which is the space between a customer’s current situation and the one they would like to have in the future, or between what they are now and what they would like to become tomorrow. Gap Selling teaches us how to use this method in sales, and underlines that without this gap, it is impossible to sell anything to anyone. Jim Keenan puts forward a novel and innovative point of view: that it is not about selling products, but about solving people’s problems, so that they buy solutions, in order to achieve the change they want for themselves, their life, and their company.

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Analysis and key concepts


Gap selling is based on the assumption that, in order for there to be a sale, there must be a problem to solve, and on the principle that people don’t buy products, they buy solutions


Filling the gap means helping the customer to progress from their current state, in which they have a problem, to their desired state, in which they have overcome the problem


The most important phase of gap selling is the negotiation, during which we need to discover everything we can about the customer and their problem


A gap seller helps customers understand what they want, and allows them to imagine how they will feel when they have achieved their goals


Future state – current state = gap, which is the value we offer by helping the customer bridge the distance


An effective demo is one which is tailor-made for the customer, and offers solutions to problems, rather than product features


We need to identify the criteria that influence people’s decisions, understand how the buying process works, and plan the next ‘yes’ we want to hear from our potential customer


When negotiations end up in a deadlock, it is important to help the customer realise that their attitude may be undermining the resolution of the problem, and that this will make it harder for them to achieve the desired outcome


We have to select potential customers, and only choose those who will actually benefit from our solutions


It is crucial that the entire sales team works according to the principles of gap selling, and that the leader monitors the progress of operations together with their co-workers




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Learn how to focus on the customer and on solving their problems.
  • Recognise that salespeople are professionals, who help people make positive and beneficial changes.
  • Discover the difference between selling products and providing solutions.

Jim Keenan is the CEO of A Sales Guy Inc, a company that provides sales consulting and training. He has more than twenty years of experience in the industry, is passionate about problem-solving, and is the author of the book Not Taught: What It Takes to be Successful in the 21st Century That Nobody's Teaching You. He has three daughters and is also a ski instructor.

Publishing house:

A Sales Guy Publishing