Written by Ari Greenbaum, co-founder of conXpros
Creating urgency with a prospective buyer is often the largest hurdle salespeople fail to overcome. Little can be more frustrating to a salesperson than having delivered a masterful presentation, answered questions confidently, and remained passionate throughout the process, yet the result is push back from the prospect. Typically, this push back comes in the form of the classic “stalls” such as “an upcoming event that takes priority”, “timing issues”, “considering all options”, or any number of additional reasons NOT to buy from you right now. This frustration is taken to the extreme when you KNOW that the client needs your product or service, and that your product or service has solved the same problem for other clients in the past. So why is this prospect directing you to the “maybe zone”? Simple answer; unless YOU create the urgency and provide the reasons that the prospect MUST say yes, the “maybe zone” is where you belong!
Creating urgency is not easy. Unfortunately, many salespeople and companies try to shortcut or gimmick their way to getting the deal done. Time based incentives, act now enticements, and other “tricks” may get the deal done, but rarely leave the buyer feeling good about their purchase decision when the euphoria wears off. There are only 2 GENUINE ways to create urgency, which can be used individually or combined to make a powerful tool to any salesperson: 1) Identifying and connecting the client’s needs to your solution, 2) storytelling.
Everyone has needs
I have shared the importance of listening and asking questions to determine the needs of a prospective buyer in the past. However, just hearing them or understanding them does not get the job done on its own. A superstar sales pro will zero in on the needs of the client and make them FEEL the need as well as the solution. Often, we need to help the prospect recognize their needs, while other times, their needs are crystal clear.
Just this past weekend my wife made a purchase of a new air fryer, the one Emeril sells on TV. Your initial thought may be “sucker”, but I can assure you that neither my wife, or myself (after she justified the purchase to me) felt like a sucker. Rather, we both felt good about the purchase and are excited to put it to use as soon as it arrives. Why am I sharing this with you? Well, if you stepped into pour kitchen, you would quickly notice that we already have an air fryer & toaster on the countertop, we have a perfectly good oven & stove. All of these appliances are in good working order. Did we “need” new air fryer? At first glance, one would quickly respond “no”. However, once my wife started thinking about all of the space saved or freed up by having one gadget in place of multiple gadgets, the fact that cooking large dishes could be done in a fraction of the time (helpful in a family with both parents working and hungry kids), the capacity to cook more items than we can currently fit into our existing air fryer, and of course the delicious looking dishes that Emeril pulled out of the device and the cook book with all of the recipes, she was cooked like the 14lb turkey that could now cook in les than 3 hours! This was clearly not a NEED for us when the infomercial first came on, but by the end of it, credit card in hand, we became the proud owners of a new gadget for the house. Granted, the features are cool, but the need was brought to life and the solution clearly presented. This is the foundation for any sale to get made on the spot…identify or create the need, then solve the problem! Once someone feels that they have a real solution to meet their needs, what legitimate reason can there be to delay the purchase decision? In the case of my wife, she felt that she HAD to have it and acted on those needs. IN the words of Emeril, “bam!” you got the sale!
Everyone loves a good story
Do you see what I did there? I used a story to convey an idea and elicit emotions. You may not walk away thinking that you too need a new air fryer, but if you had the same issues my wife did, perhaps you would be thinking differently. Stories change the way we think, act & respond. Jonathan Gottschall offers phenomenal insights into the human psyche and impact of effective storytelling in his book, The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human. He shares how stories shape us and our thoughts. A world leader in business storytelling, Paul Smith, understands the power of a story so well, that he authored and dedicated multiple books to this often lost art (Sell With A Story, Lead With A Story). If you have ever had the privilege of listening to old Zig Ziglar seminars, you would quickly notice that more than 75% of his presentations were focused around stories. To this day, the parts of his presentations I recall the most are the captivating stories he shared to convey his points.
Top producing salespeople are more often than not, exceptional storytellers. By weaving stories into a presentation with a prospect, you open their receptors to your influence. Specifically, stories create urgency. When we hear about other people’s experiences that were similar to ours, we can relate to them and feel like we are not alone in the decisions we are faced with. The thought process becomes “if it worked for them, chances are it will work for me too”.
When your prospect feels that they NEED what you offer and understand that your solution has worked for others just like them in the past, the decision to purchase becomes relatively easy. There is no need for gimmicks or sales tricks that bully the prospect into a “yes” answer. Your buyers are content with their decisions to purchase. In fact, just like my wife, they become an advocate for your product or service. I used to work with a window replacement company and one of the strategies AFTER gaining the “yes” was to “interview” the client. One of the questions included having them tell (or sell) you on why they made the purchase in the way they would explain it to a friend questioning their decision. Incredibly, when urgency is genuine & properly created, the client was able to “sell” the windows back to you. In other words, they were bought in. This kind of buy in only happens when you have drawn a straight and clear line from the need to a solution. Put these tools into action for you and you will see your success skyrocket. You will have less follow ups that chew up your valuable time and more deals under contract. Bam!
*Extra challenge: Try “interviewing” your clients right after agreeing to purchase. See what they answer to your question of “what will you tell your friend when asked why did you buy?”. You will quickly know if you identified their needs and offered a clear solution. You will learn just how effective you really are at creating real urgency.