How to Use the “Curiosity Gap” To Make the Sale

Tue Feb 14, 2017

Jessica Helinski

thinkPiquing a prospect’s curiosity could catch you the sale, but do you know how to use the “curiosity gap?” If not, you may want to keep reading to learn how certain techniques can intrigue prospects just enough to boost their engagement. TopSalesDog Blogger Dave Clemens explores the concept of the curiosity gap, defined as “ a delay in answering an intriguing question, or clarifying an ambiguous situation.” In a recent post, he cites research from the University of Wisconsin that revealed people, generally, seek closure when they experience a curiosity. As Clemens explains, “When you give buyers a fascinating tidbit that suggests an interesting story behind it, they automatically want to know more. And they’ll be more likely to do as you ask in order to find out that something more.”

Not sure of subtle yet successful ways to try out this technique? Clemens has suggestions:

  • When leaving a voicemail, don’t state the entire reason for the call. Instead, give the prospect a reason to call you back. Briefly mention the reason you are calling but don’t give away too much. Leave just enough information to entice him or her to pick up the phone.
  • When sitting down with a prospect, ask a few questions and don’t answer them right away. “The idea is to get buyers to think about what they already know about the topic and, more importantly, what they don’t know, to highlight the curiosity gap,” he explains.
  • Share a story about a customer, and then ask the prospect how he or she thinks it turned out. By not immediately sharing how you helped the customer, you encourage the prospect to think about your business’s value. And, he or she will likely be curious to hear how the story ends.

The next time you engage with a prospect, subtly sneak in ways to appeal to his or her curiosity. By using the “curiosity gap,” you can drive engagement, drive interest, and hopefully, make the sale!

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About Jessica Helinski

Jessica is a senior research analyst for SalesFuel focusing on the specialties of local account category research and audience trends. She reports on sales and presentation tips for Media Sales Today. Jessica is a graduate of Ohio University.

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