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When reviewing a gap analysis with a client, we often come off as the person on a terrible first date. Instead of conversing with our clients, we sit down and point out all the wrong or missing things. No one wants a date like that, and your clients are no exception.
A poor approach to gap analysis can hurt your business and the relationship you are trying to build with your customers. Of course, you need to do a gap analysis for your clients. It’s part of what helps you understand the goals of their business and how you can help. However, if you can’t align your findings with the needs and values of your client, you’ll find yourself getting nowhere. When approaching your client with your analysis, it’s not your thorough, super detailed report that will catch their attention. It’s understanding your client and the value you bring to the table. When your clients come to the same understanding, you stop becoming a nag with the same repetitive concerns. You become a partner and an asset.
Talk to your clients about their business. Make it a point to understand what aspects of your gap analysis are most valuable to their operation. You may have a lengthy list of items that need to be addressed, but not all of them are things your client will care about. Let them know how your gap analysis helps them run their organization and generate profit. When you take the time and effort to have a conversation with your customers, you start to build trust, which will, in turn, open up more opportunities for you!
There will be gaps that your clients will not understand. This is not a foreign concept to those of us in the IT world. We have language and lingo that a layperson does not use. While this can be a challenge, you should take this as an opportunity to showcase what you have learned about their business and how your gap analysis pertains to their success. Educate them as to why your services are needed. Prioritize the things that are most important to them. This is not you being a salesperson. It allows for a customer-led strategy! Your customers have the chance to do the work for you by prioritizing what risks need the most attention. Then let them know what future steps you can take to improve things in the future. It’s a win-win scenario!
Remember, you do not know every gap in your customer’s portfolio. When a client seeks your services, you are often given a small window of insight that usually only pertains to IT. Make an effort to build rapport. It will help you prioritize the gaps that need the most attention, and your client will start to trust you to make decisions. Again, this allows you more opportunities to expand your services and build a business relationship that can last decades.
Gap analysis doesn’t have to be boring and repetitive. Use it as a tool to strengthen your business relationships and turn them into a profit!
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