How To Meet Prospect Needs with Stretching The Gap

  • MSP+OS Team
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    MSP+OS Team

  • March 3, 2018
  • 3 minute read

In the last several articles, we have been looking at what I like to call stretching the gap. This is vital to the sales procedure and not doing it usually results in you pushing your sales agenda on a prospect who really isn’t interested in finding a solution. They end up making up excuses as to why they cannot purchase, and you end up wasting your own time and miss out on a sale.

That’s obviously not what we are trying to achieve. Let's discover a solution.

Stretching the gap involves three major steps. Initially, we want to help our prospect see where it is they want to go (paint the image). Then, we help them see their current reality (face the facts). The last step is to help them see what’s keeping them from getting what they want. To do this, we must eyeball the obstacles and devise a strategy to circumvent them.

Think about it like this: I say to you, “Let’s have a quick conversation and I want you to tell me how you want things to be different in your business and how it uses technology.”
We make a big list of all the things you want and I read it back to you to make sure we’re on the right track.

Then I say, “So, that’s where you want to be, but where are you right now with your technology, present provider, number of issues on a monthly basis, etc.”

Now I have a clear Image of everything you want and where you're at right now, which permits me to say, "You've likely wanted these items for a little while, so there is definitely something blocking you or you would be there already".
It’s a very honest approach.



Almost all the books written about attaining your goals tell you to concentrate on your visions -- write down your objectives, examine them every day, concentrate on what you want, and you will finally achieve a solution.
Personally, I’ve always been way more motivated by getting away from the “bad stuff”.

There is an awesome title of a book that nails this idea: Stop Setting Goals If You Would Rather Solve Problems.

When I look at the gap between where I am now and where I want to go, my first instinct is to list out everything that’s stopping me and fix the problems. Obviously, by eliminating these barriers, I get closer to where I want to be.
This may or may not be helpful for you in a personal goal setting process, but in a sales process, this is extremely valuable.

It’s great to look at a prospect and say, “I know exactly where you are right now and where you want to go. Something’s holding you back or you’d be there already. Let’s a make a list of everything that’s slowing you down, getting in the way, or stopping you from getting what you want.”
Asking prospects what their barriers are in this way allows you to creep up to the huge problems without being too blunt or overpowering. This will guide you to a more practical solution.

Simply saying, “Here’s where you are and that’s where you want to be. Cool. Why haven’t you gotten there already?” doesn’t quite cut it. They’ve already been asking themselves that question.



Think about where this process takes them emotionally. First, they get really excited when talking about their vision for the future. They’re optimistic and can see their dream coming true, which makes them really happy.

When you force them to confront the facts of their current reality, it brings them down somewhat from this emotional high.

Finally, when they talk about what’s holding them back, you’ll see that their energy is different.

There’ll be a lot more pause between your question and their answer. Their tone will drop and they’ll be more introspective. That’s how you know you’re doing it right.

The truth is that people purchase when there's a difference -- when they state, "I want this, but that's in the way".

This is the real reason why you make a sale. When you extend the gap, your prospect gets a clear picture of what they want and what is standing in the way. Since you have helped them see this they will credit you with the solution.

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