Creating Prospect Urgency

sales meeting
Create urgency to get prospects moving.

Every prospect has needs that your product can help them to meet. In fact, having a need for your product is what makes them prospects and not merely leads. Just having a need isn't always enough to get a prospect moving, though. The need has to be an urgent one, and the prospect has to know that it's urgent, or he's likely to put off the need to make a decision until he feels that he must.

Creating urgency is often the only way to break through prospect inertia and get him to make a commitment.

You can help the process along by using tactics such as the limited-time offer (“I can give you a great discount on the green one, but only until the end of the month”) but the most effective approach is to show the prospect why his need itself is time-critical.

In order to generate urgency, you must first identify the prospect's needs. You'll also have to figure out which of those needs are the most important to the prospect. This can only happen if you ask the right questions and get him talking. As he discusses his needs, watch his body language – you'll often be able to tell which issues are the most worrisome for him by the way he squirms or otherwise acts uncomfortable while talking about them. Those particular issues are the ones that you'll have the easiest time accentuating to him.

Once you've collected the information on the prospect's needs, float out a trial close to see if he's ready to make a decision.

You can say something like, “So how does that sound so far?” and see how he reacts. If he responds with a stall like “I need to think about it more,” or “I'm not ready to buy now, call me next month,” it means he doesn't feel enough urgency yet to buy.

At this point, you should start asking "anxiety" questions to get him thinking.

Simply telling a prospect why a specific issue is serious won't necessarily get him thinking, but if you phrase your concern in the form of a question, he will automatically visualize the scenario you're asking about and it will have far more impact on him.

For example, if your prospect has expressed a need that he must raise his department's productivity by 15% by the end of the year, you might ask something like, “What will happen if you don't raise your productivity as needed?” or “What if you run out of time?”. Another approach would be to say, “How has your current setup affected the productivity issue you're now experiencing?” All of these questions both generate anxiety in your prospect and get him thinking about how to solve the problem – and what might happen if he fails!

Now that you've increased his sense of urgency, talk your prospect through how your product can resolve his need. Since he'll probably be feeling quite worried by now, benefit phrases like "peace of mind" and so on will be particularly effective. Once you've gone over your product benefits, ask for the sale and see what he says. If he still won't budge, it's possible that he truly doesn't have an urgent need or else the one you chose to address isn't as important to him as you thought.

You won't need to use this approach in every sale, probably not even in most sales. If a prospect has gone so far as to schedule an appointment with you, the odds are that he already feels some urgency. But when you do come across a prospect who starts making time objections or otherwise trying to slow down the process, a few anxiety questions can help you to get him moving towards a purchase.