Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Gap Selling: Getting the Customer to Yes: How Problem-Centric Selling Increases Sales by Changing Everything You Know About Relationships, Overcoming Objections, Closing and Price

Rate this book
People don't buy from people they like. No! Your buyer doesn't care about you or your product or service. It's not your job to overcome objections, it's your buyer's. Closing isn't a skill of good salespeople; it's the skill of weak salespeople. Price isn't the main reason salespeople lose the sale. Gap Selling shreds traditional and closely held sales beliefs that have been hurting salespeople for decades. For years, salespeople have embraced a myriad of sales tactics and belief systems that have unknowingly created many of the issues they have been trying to avoid such long sales cycles, price objections, no decision, prospects going dark, last minute feature requests, and more. Success at sales requires more than a set of tactics. Salespeople need to understand the game of sales, how sales works, and what the buyer is going through in order to make the decision to buy (change) or not to buy (not change). Gap Selling is a game-changing book designed to raise the sales IQ of selling organizations around the world. In his unapologetic and irreverent style, Keenan breaks down the tired old sales myths causing today's frustrating sales issues, to highlight a deceptively powerful new way to connect with buyers. Today's sales world is littered with glorified order takers, beholden to a frustrated buyer, unable to influence the sale and create value. Gap Selling flips the script and creates salespeople with immense influence at every stage of the buying process, capable of impacting the sales metrics that   Gap Selling elevates the sales world's selling IQ and turns sales order takers into sales influencers.

262 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2018

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author


14 books6 followers

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
477 (50%)
4 stars
335 (35%)
3 stars
110 (11%)
2 stars
17 (1%)
1 star
8 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 88 reviews
Profile Image for Sabin.
299 reviews28 followers
October 17, 2021
Pleasantly surprised by the fact that the author barely contradicts himself. So apparently the best salespeople are those who identify the problems and can provide solutions to the problems. Thus, to sell really well you’d have to have the skills of an expert consultant in the field/ industry in which you operate. It actually makes sense, but then you would rather want the title of expert consultant and would want to charge appropriate rates for your time and effort.
Profile Image for Tim Hughes.
Author 3 books61 followers
January 15, 2019
When it comes to a person’s second book I’m always interested which way will somebody go? Will they take a “bucket to the well” from where they got their first book and do a first book part 2? As many people pressurised me to do and something Keenan could have done. No, he has decided to come up with his own sales methodology. Now sales methodologies have been around for years, looking at Google there are at least 10 in circulation today. So why did Keenan go down a path already well trodden with the danger he will create, yet another “me to” process?

In “Gap Selling” Keenan brings the sales methodology up to the modern day, using modern tool and techniques. Putting it another way, it’s a 21st century methodology and not a 20th century methodology. The book is fast paced and if you follow any of his videos or blogs on social media, it’s written in his “take no prisoners” approach.

It’s a modern day approach, for a modern day buyer.

One world of warning, if you are a lazy salesperson, this book isn’t for you. Keenan is proud of us sales people and he expects us to perform at the highest levels of professionalism, in the office, in front of customers and how we forecast. If you are a Sales Manager buy this book for your team, if you are a sales executive, buy the book for yourself!
10 reviews2 followers
March 3, 2022
The best sales book I've read in a long time

Simply the best info that has been provided in a book in recent memory. I loved reading every word in this book
Profile Image for Sheary.
21 reviews2 followers
April 13, 2020
Sales are all about your EQ. It determines how well you're in this field.
This book does not teach you how to close a deal, sales are not about closing a deal, it is all about the ability to identify and help others for their problems.

Sales aren't scary, you're scared because of your lack of ability to fill in the gap between your customer's current state & future state. You're just pitching not helping.

How do I know this? I read this book.
March 26, 2022
What this book is about?
Lots of things changed because of the internet revolution. However no matter how much we wish we did not have to ‘sell’ anymore to sell our products and services, because it is there on the internet, we have found out the bitter truth that we still need to ‘sell’.

Selling before was about convincing the client by providing information about the product. However now the client has too much information now.

Zig Zalgar in his famous book , “Ziglar on Selling” published in 1991, popularized the following selling structure:
1 Opening
2 Objection Handling
3 Closing

This model was adversarial. But it was used as the standard model of selling across the world.

This book offers a new structure of selling:
1 Discovery of the Gap
2 Recommendation by salesman
3 Decision to fill the gap by client

Yes it is that simple.

In this model the salesman positions himself as a consultant to the client, akin to a doctor who tries to discover the cause of the symptoms of the patients.

Through many examples Keenan is successful at convincing us that the old dashing model of selling it ‘dead’. I doubt it is totally dead but his arguments are so convincing that my foundations are shaken.

Something similar to Keenan’s approach was consultative selling but again in those days it was part the of ‘opening’ and the objective was to get a ‘close’.

Gap selling differs totally as it starts right from the initial prospecting stage, the first call, the first email. The theme of discovery is carried out till the very end until the client naturally makes the ‘decision’ he wants your product / service.

Being a consultant myself, after reading this book I felt my lack of updated knowledge on selling made me lose many selling opportunities, although I cannot blame myself too much as this book was published in 2018 only.

Looking back most of my successful selling were loosely based on this model of ‘gap selling’ even though I did not know at that time.

Basically this gap selling model requires the following assumption to be true:
1 No client will buy unless they realize that they have a problem that your product/service can solve
2 however most clients do not know that they have a problem that your product/service can solve and the ‘discovery’ process will help them see that problem clearly, and they will be thankful for it
3 in cases even after the ‘discovery’ process where clients really do not have a problem that your product/service can solve, forceful closing will cause pain to both the client and salesman, so just drop the deal and move on: So simple

This book opened my eyes to a new world of selling that I know I can excel at but never knew. This approach is most suited for any high value , abstract products, although I can see it work for selling cars or even cheaper products/services.

This book like any good book extols the qualities requied to do gap selling which are quite obvious but still just to inform you in case you will look for such salespeople who can do gap selling, taken from https://www.leveljump.io/blog/gap-sel...

“- Understanding of the business: Gap Sellers invest in themselves learning customers’ industries, their challenges and opportunities. Essentially, they must become specialists in their field, committed to solving problems and helping customers.

- Deliberate learning: Never let up on growing your business knowledge. You have to keep up with the latest developments in your industry especially as pertains to your products. Take learning seriously.

- Listening capability: Salespeople are trained to talk, but at the right time it’s best to shut up and let the customer figure out things for themselves.

- Problem-solving capability: That’s what you’re there to do! You’re not parroting a features-list, you are listening to a prospect and figuring out a solution to their problem.

- Empathy: Emotions are part of the prospect’s current state and future state. You need to be able to connect to these emotions to truly understand them to suggest the best solution.

- A questioning attitude: You have to want to know more about the customer’s problem. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. And you need to ask good questions, which you’ll be able to do with more understanding of the business and practice.

- Future thinking: You should be able to connect the dots and see into the future, so you can predict potential problems your prospect might run into and cross-sell later on.

- Coachability: No one is perfect, and there’s always room for improvement. A Gap Seller is confident, but also aware that they can always learn more, and are open to feedback.”

How is it useful to you in your :


If you are the CEO or the owner of a business, this book is very important. The world has changed right in front of our nose and many of us have no idea it did. Then we complain things don’t work like before. We find many things to blame from incompetent staffs to economy to politicians. But at the core of everything is our inability to ‘sell’ and make our people ‘sell’. This book defines the present and future of selling. The old school of selling the hard way is ‘dead’. Now we must sell the ‘smart way’.

Without the ability to sell, you can’t progress in any career. Learn Gap selling and secure your future.

Recently I began a new project with a big college in Nepal to give counseling to 3000+ students of grade 11 and 12. It had started before corona, pause and now resumed.

What I found is that is that at the age of 16 to 18, people are so pure in thought, intention. If they have a problem, well it is a problem and they will listen to the solution and if they are convinced they will follow it.

Then as the same people grow older, the older they grow the following symptoms develop:
1 deny they have a problem(s)
2 attack even the doctor who shows them their problem
3 doubt, disbelieve any solution given if it doesn’t fit in their current world-view
4 in case they accept the problem and also the solution, they will not follow it : like an old dog refusing to learn a new trick

I have trained all age groups, levels of hierarchy and sectors, and the above 4 symptoms are present the older they get and the higher they go and the more glamorous the sectors get.

It is sad.

However I believe it should not be like this and doesn’t have to be this way. So I have another project of sending learning inspirational quotes everyday to 250+ leaders in my acquaintance. This is a lifetime project to make top guys curious, open to reflection and eager to transform to greatness.

If you are not getting these messages on viber or whatsapp, send me your number in those platforms and join my ‘enlightened leaders’ movement.

Profile Image for Nandish.
3 reviews2 followers
June 26, 2021
The only reason I would like to rate this book 5 star is because it proved me wrong. It took time to complete but parallely testing it on the sales team was completely an eye opener. The author hooks us to change our traditional sales methodology and focus on gap selling. Gap selling is an amazing concept that focuses majorly on trying to solve the problem the prospect faces in the current state and make them realise what their future state will look like with the product or service or your expertise you have to offer. 3 major drawings from the book - Problem identifications, their impact on business and their root cause that help you define whether you can be of any help to the prospect in solving his current state and bring him to the future state. The art of making your client agreeing to something at every step - make them say 'yes' is what makes you come closer to the closing of deal and eventually a successful gap sell sales. The author majorly works on the above concept providing techniques to follow to lead the sales funnel.at every state. Keenan also introduces the concept of healthy pipeline to understand the projections and commitment done by the sales team to achieve results. Finally, the final chapter works on how a sales leader works - in short you have to become to coach for your team guide them and not.manage the team.and their progress report. Asking the right question to.your team gives you accurate state if he / she is on track with his current pipeline sales. Also, some major pointer are highlighted by the author as to what qualities to look for or imbibe in a gap sales team mate. To sum up, you have to.practice this book in your work environment to see massive breakthrough on your conversions and winning over prospects thought process and making them believe what it looks like to use your help to see a brighter future state. Happy reading.
Profile Image for Jeff Kinsey.
Author 1 book28 followers
October 30, 2020
Brilliant. Simply brilliant!

Keenan lays down the law in this book on understanding the process of selling. Even more so in his LinkedIn LiveCASTS where he "takes on" live callers as they try to GAP SELL KEENAN their goods and services.

Spoiler Alert:

The GAP that Keenan is focused on is a simple concept but not easy to apply in the heat of the presentation. At least not the first few times you try. What is the GAP? In his words, "It is the space between the current state and the future state. The gap is where the value of the sale lives."

In the world of Constraints Management [aka Dr. Eli Goldratt's Theory of Constraints (TOC)] we would call it the work required to go from the "Current Reality" to the "Future Reality" as you craft a pitch to your prospect. In Goldratt's terms, we build "logic trees" to describe in detail the current situation (CRT) and then with some effort, a more perfect union as it would appear in a future reality tree (FRT).

I found it very easy to overlay Keenan's valuable insights over top of my use of The Logical Thinking Process of TOC to ensure that sales teams are "selling" the correct solutions to the most pressing needs. What we call the weakest link.

If you must sell or if you use some selling in your marketing efforts, you need to read Keenan's book. Now. Even better, buy the Kindle book and get Amazon's Alexa to read it to you.

P.S. His use of story telling with real examples from his adventures make it a quick read. However, if this is your first time with some of the concepts, comprehension may come a little slower.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Ben Brooks.
62 reviews
November 25, 2022
- This book was really entertaining and it made me think deeply about the way that I'm engaging with potential customers. I think my asks for time are often not valuable enough in the "prospect's" eyes. Holding off on actually rating this until I close a sale...

Attaching some notable quotes:
- “The number of questions you ask early in the sale cycle increases your chance of making the deal.”
- “Good salespeople have to be able to ask questions that subtly test and challenge the customers’ perceived current state to see if the gap is bigger than anyone realized. Your role is to crystallize the stakes for them and help them conclude the salesperson who possesses something that can make that future state come true is selling something of real value.”
- “Don’t say or send anything that wouldn’t compel you to pay attention if the roles were reversed. Everything you send out, every communication, every engagement should address a problem or a set of problems with which your target customer could be struggling. The communication should be them-centric—their business, their production facility, their customer service, their sales organization, their supply chain, their whatever. Your goal is to get them to engage with you on a problem or set of problems. You have to be a problem finder. Become fanatical in that endeavor.”
- "Every time you delve for information, it should feel like a friendly conversation. These formulations will help you avoid making your customers feel like you’re badgering them, and instead give them a sense of control.”
January 5, 2022
A must read to anybody who's working in Sales. Gap Selling gives you a lot of insights, techniques and tools to leverage your sales game and effectively close a deal.
Profile Image for Raluca Mitarca.
17 reviews
August 30, 2021
This book changed my view of what selling is and should be. It moved the concept to empathy, problem solving, clear communication and bigger picture.
I listened to the audio version and am not much of a fan of the narration. Otherwise it deserves 5 stars.
Profile Image for Javier HG.
203 reviews4 followers
January 16, 2021
El oficio de vender está absolutamente denostado, a pesar de ser la clave de cualquier negocio. Sin venta, no hay negocio. Llevo varios años como ventas, y pienso que ese desprecio se debe a los malos ejemplos que hemos visto o experimentado. Desde llamadas de call-centers a la hora de la cena, a ventas que mienten o son especialmente agresiv@s. Por no hablar de responsables de ventas que no tienen ni idea de lo que es vender. Una anécdota: en una de las empresas en las que trabajé, un responsable de zona hablaba de la "pasión a la hora de vender". Y es ahí cuando te das cuenta de que no sabe lo que está diciendo. Porque vender no tiene nada que ver con la pasión, sino con un método que se pueda enseñar y replicar.

Y de eso trata "Gap selling", de enseñar un método para vender mejor en el entorno de empresas para empresas. El autor explica que se trata de entender primero muy bien lo que nuestro cliente objetivo necesita, y es más encontrar una solución a sus problemas que vender un producto o servicio. Esto puede parecer una obviedad, pero muchos ventas se centran en hablar del producto o servicio de manera automática, sin pensar primero en cómo su oferta podría impactar positivamente.

Para l@s que se dediquen a ventas, este libro es muy recomendable porque te motiva y te hace reflexionar sobre cómo prospectas y cómo vendes. En pocas palabras: te hace mejorar.

100% recomendable.
Profile Image for Andrea Angella.
52 reviews16 followers
March 17, 2022
The product doesn’t drive the sale, the problem does

What your customer think is real might not be. Challenge the buyer assumptions

Listen. Get facts. Let the prospect envision how their world would look like if all their problems would be solved. Only focus on problems your product can solve!

Don’t worry about being liked

Problem -> solution -> impact

Don’t accept open ended answers. Ask for details. Get them explore deeply their problems. … what happen when you..? Have you had a time when…? If you do X what do you think would happen?

Validation questions…are you saying…? I am understanding correctly..?

I am confused. You said… (challenge your buyer and get them own why they want what they say they want)

6.8 buyers are requires to make a sale

Don’t ask for a chance to talk. Ask for a chance to provide value
Profile Image for Craig Andrews.
Author 7 books17 followers
July 9, 2019
Simply put, this is the best, most important Sales book I’ve ever read. I’ve already read it twice, and look forward to deconstructing specific chapters to dissect certain ideas even more. I have zero doubt this book has already improved my Sales skills, and will take my Sales career to the next level.
54 reviews
January 12, 2020

This book confirmed everything I’ve been doing, however with one difference. It showed me how to do it consciously and build customer loyalty into the GAP selling process.

Buy this book today or take the risk of losing another sale.
Profile Image for David.
132 reviews5 followers
October 17, 2021
Approaching sales as being 'problem-centric' was the game changing shift in my psyche I needed. Before I get into what I loved, I want to first address what I disliked. Keenan's style of educating is conversational and it's more or less pretty non-formal. I liked that for the most part, but there were instances where it felt cheap. Don't get me wrong; it was great to have things explained and elaborated in a way that was casual but there are also instances where it felt too conversational. It's hard to explain but perhaps that's because I don't typically read books that are written in conversation-form.

That being said, this is one of my first sales development books and it's a great read. You're not selling a product, you're selling a solution to a company's pains and problems. If the prospect doesn't know what the problem is or the extent of it, you'll have a hard time selling them what you offer and the climb to do so gets steep. I like Keenan's experiences he touches upon and the importance of making it about the prospect and not about you. If you get past the conversation-style, or if it's not a problem at all, then this book is great for opening up your eyes to holes in your sales game!
Profile Image for Reggie.
1 review2 followers
January 17, 2019
Agree with Eric Baum 'As the founder of A Sales Guy, a sales consulting firm, Keenan knows what it takes to drive real sales results in today's digital world. His first book, Not Taught, explores what you and your team need for finding success.

His recent session at Inbound 2018 made a huge impact on the audience, where he discussed problem-centric selling. He explained how first you need to help prospects acknowledge they have a problem so you can then deliver value.

This is where gap selling comes in. The gap between their current state and future state is where value lives. In their current state, customers know they have a problem, they understand the impact, the root cause, and the emotions they experience.

You're selling the outcome — the future state. And this is what his new book, Gap Selling, explores. Releasing in late 2018, the book will dive deep into his selling methodology, which puts the buyer front and center and is focused on showing them where their future state can be.

Now that we understand that it's about them and their problem, at the root of every single sale you ever make is change.

- Keenan, Inbound 2018 '
- https://www.bluleadz.com/blog/5-books...
Profile Image for Ahmad hosseini.
271 reviews65 followers
March 3, 2023
Gap Selling is going to teach you what the game of selling is all about and how to win. It’s going to give you the practical advice and executable skills and methods to win more deals, shorten sales cycles, and avoid losing on price. It’s going to show you how to get buyers to partner with you and be an integral part of the sale so they no longer go dark, avoid your calls, and put up unnecessary roadblocks.
This book explains a lot of feelings I experienced as a sale person and it was interesting for me. I like author mindset about finding customer problems and try to use them to satisfy customer for buying a product or service as solution. For finding problems we must use asking questions, a lot of question, and try to find customer current situation and their goal for future. After that use the gap between current and future to satisfy customer. In most case this mindset is true but there are a lot of business outside that they don’t know anything about their business and don’t have any specific goal for future.
Profile Image for Justin Wiebelhaus.
79 reviews4 followers
December 29, 2022
A quality book about modern-day selling. Like the focus on problem-finding and asking questions.

Great audio if you are out on the field!

Now that I am moving away from a sales-specific role some parts of the book remind me how much of an echo chamber sales communities can be. Things like "You need to keep emailing them every day/ week because YOU ARE PROVIDING VALUE IN YOUR EMAIL. Never stop emailing them until they tell you so because you never want to say no to your prospect." I understand this as a salesperson and why in the end this works to your advantage, I just don't love the sales platitudes of how much you are helping them all the time. Of course, that is true but in the end you are trying to make the sale...
March 15, 2023
This is a strong introductory read for someone starting an SDR role and pairs well with the Challenger Sale. While it doesn’t seek to do anything revolutionary, Keenan’s approach to discovery is a valuable way to reframe your conversations with prospects and to empower salespeople to be problem-solvers rather than product-pitchers.

Like most sales reads, it suffers from some poor analogies, expands into adjacent processes that don’t seem strictly relevant, and is a bit longer than needed. Keenan’s approach to prospecting, discovery, and demoing provide a good anchor for a sales rep who’s looking to be consultative. The “gap-selling” method goes by many different names at different organizations, but it is here to stay.
Profile Image for Nathan Simmons.
9 reviews9 followers
December 30, 2018
Gap Selling is short and sweet enough to be read in one day but contains enough depth that you’ll be unpacking Keenan’s methodology for the rest of your career. Selling to the Gap as a concept is simple. Doing the work and investing your time, interest and authentic self isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds. Change isn’t easy. This book, if you apply it… really apply it… without picking and choosing the parts you like and skipping the parts you don’t like, will take you right past leveling up and drop you off a few levels beyond wherever you are now. Keenan’s clarity of thought is unmatched and equally applicable to newly minted SDRs and veteran sales leaders alike. Highly Recommend!
Profile Image for Alec Blacklaw.
14 reviews
April 21, 2020
Bam! Powerful, challenging and loved it.
Keenan is on the money!

A great framework to focus on what problems the customer is having, the impact it is having or will have for them their business and life. Then and only then can we develop and redesign a pathway to lead them ( and you) to a better future state where everyone is significantly better off.

A must-read for all people in sales who care about their customer - The very best of those that read this book will have loads of buyers, where those customers will buy from you to achieve great outcomes for themselves.. with your assistance.
Profile Image for Carl Moore.
5 reviews
January 9, 2021
This book takes you on a sales journey and explains clearly how and why a customer buys from you.
The basic premise is how to sell in a consultative manner and being customer centric.
Using knowledge of your potential customers business, assessing their problems, to customise a clear and concise approach to selling, by getting to the root cause, solving their issues and offering a solution.

Easy to follow and sound advice.

Most companies now employ this technique now, but if yours doesn't, I would recommend this book.
20 reviews
April 7, 2021
As someone who had to sell as part of my business, I found this a great resource. I originally listened on Audible, but was a little overwhelmed by the authors delivery and the fast pace and felt like I couldn’t absorb all the important bits. So, I bought it in hard back so I could highlight my favorite parts and refer back to it. It does feel a bit sales-y and pitch-y, but that’s the point, right? Would recommend it to those getting their feet wet in selling, but might not translate to all industries in the same way.
Profile Image for RTS.
116 reviews2 followers
November 16, 2022
Maybe I just wanted someone to yell at me for a few hours?

The audiobook is definitely an experience. The author is ... loud, and motivating. And it kind of worked! He just kind of shouts about sales for a while.

The smartest parts of this book are when he quotes The Challenger Sale... so take that for what it's worth, I guess.

Ultimately all these sales books are like bricks, and I'm slowly building a house of them. No single book is worth much but the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Useful experience to read, even if it only minorly changed my approach.
Profile Image for Ádám Büte.
37 reviews2 followers
November 19, 2019
Combines the theory of SPIN selling and The Challenger Sale (arguably two of the most important additions to sales theory), and gives a practical approach to implementing them into your selling. But not to take away from Keenan: this book expands on that theory with its own guidelines and philosophies. Informed, up to date, compelling, comprehensive and useful. The underlying concept should change your thinking forever.
Profile Image for Adam Weiss.
5 reviews
April 6, 2020
Best Sales Book I’ve Read

This book is a must read for anyone and has completely changed the way I will look at selling. By defining the gap (the space between the current state and the desired future state) you will be able to help your customers see things that they didn’t see before. The gap is where the value of the sale lives and will help you know your clients better than they know themselves.
Profile Image for Bella.
298 reviews29 followers
July 23, 2020
I'll be honest - I wasn't a huge Keenan fan because I had only seen his LinkedIn videos, and I'm personally not a huge fan of profanity-laced rants. Then I saw readers voted for this as the #2 on the list of best sales books, and I decided to jump in. Turns out that the whole "Gap" concept is both simple and brilliant. It's a sticky concept that works. Recommended!

Profile Image for Brian Nicholson.
14 reviews2 followers
March 19, 2021
The concepts in this book are mostly common sense. However, I always appreciate a framework, and this book does deliver a framework that could certainly be useful for a sales team.

There are plenty of examples to clarify and reinforce the author's points; it's certainly not one of those books heavy on theory but light on application.

The author's brash manner will make the audiobook somewhat difficult to listen to for some, but he's energetic and communicates clearly.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 88 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.