Can you bridge the gap to persuade readers?

photo by mandj98 

There are a lot of techniques and approaches  you can use to market and sell your products and services – some of them are complex and not very obvious and some of them are fairly straightforward.

As an example, I ran across this blog post from Michael Fortin (well known copy writer) about using a ‘Gap Analysis’ technique to sell.  It’s a really well written article on a copy writing technique that I hadn’t seen explained (although I have seen it used…).

Here’s a quick description from the article on what he means by the Gap Analysis process:

As luck would have it, a large part of its power is in it’s simplicity. The process consists of only four steps:

  1. Introduce the problem.
  2. Introduce the “other side”.
  3. Widen the gap.
  4. Bridge the gap.

It’s a nice succinct formula that’s fairly easy to apply to a lot of situations.  Read the post to get a more detailed view of what those 4 steps really are.  See below for an example that I threw together for one of my clients.

Bring on the Pain

Part of the reason I like the approach described in the Gap Analysis technique is because it really ties together two key ideas in marketing and selling in a very practical way. 

  1. Finding the pain in your prospect and           
  2. Relaying the benefits from the prospect’s point of view.

Ultimately everyone buys for 1 of 2 reasons – Pleasure or Pain.  Of the two, Pain is a much more prevalent driver for most people.  Think of just about anything meaningful you bought recently and then see if you can come up with the ultimate reason why you bought it.  More than likely your buying decision was to relieve some sort of pain.

If you can’t get your prospect to admit to some pain – more than likely you’re not going to be able to get them to commit to a meaningful purchase.  A lot of professionals fall into using logical, intellectual discussions to make the case for why someone should buy their product or service.  There is no pain in a logical, intellectual discussion – pain is visceral and emotional and that’s what your marketing should be driving so you get the reaction you want.

The second significant selling and marketing point is the importance of generating the benefits from the prospect’s point of view.  The fact that your product comes in 10 colors and smells like a rainforest is probably not a benefit (unless that happens to be addressing the prospect’s biggest pain…).  Instead you should focus on how your client is going to save money, make more money or get some other benefit.

This is important because too many people spend too much time talking about the features of their product or service rather than the important benefits (as they relate to the buyer!!!).  The buyer does not want to hear about you or your product / service, they want to hear about their problem and how you can solve it – end of story.

Simple example of a Gap Analysis

This came up last week after a BANG meeting where a client was looking for some ideas on how to communicate her value proposition in an initial email to a new prospect.  Here’s a simple example I put together using this Gap Analysis approach – this could use some polish and some tuning, but directionally I thought it was all right – let me know what you think:

“Do you ever feel like you’re paying way too much for your Telecom and Network services?  Your business has several locations, you’ve got complex data needs and a top of the line phone system – the functionality is great, but it’s expensive and you feel like you might be getting shafted.”

“Imagine your relief and your savings after you’ve had a thorough audit that identified and FIXED any areas where you were overspending on Telecom – imagine saving 20%, maybe even 30% of your current costs and how much that would increase your bottom line.”

“Realistically you probably don’t have any idea how many circuits you’re actually using, or if that T1 data line is the most cost effective way to support your data network – how could you?  You’re not in the Telecom business, you’re in the widget business!”

“That’s where Lee Associates comes in – with our extensive Telecom experience, proprietary Telecom auditing software and in-depth and ongoing reviews, we can not only make sure you are getting the best deal now, but for any future Telecom spend you might have.  And the best part?  The up-front audit is free and our fees are generated entirely out of the savings we find you – if there are no savings (which doesn’t happen very often), you don’t owe us anything!”

Get the peace of mind and the bottom line savings your company deserves – call us today for your free up front audit!!!”

By the way – if that example even remotely describes you or your business, let me know, I’m sure Maggie (with Lee Associates) would be glad to give you a call for your free audit!!!

Share your feedback of this example – would it be effective for you?  What do you think about the Gap Analysis approach overall?  I’d love to hear your comments.

Shawn Kinkade