How do you create a sense of urgency?

How do I get my salespeople to create some urgency with the client?

I am often asked this question by sales managers.

Their salespeople are selling an excellent product or service. They make a professional sales presentation where they explain all of the features and benefits of their offering, but more often than not, their prospects are not buying. There is no sense of urgency.

Instead they politely tell the salesperson that they are impressed, and if they ever need what the salesperson is offering, they will be in touch.

I call this playing ‘show and tell’ and many salespeople fall into this trap.

Now I call it a trap, because when a salesperson finally gets in front of a prospect, probably after working hard to get the appointment, the prospect will often say, ‘So show me what you have to offer’. If they are not careful the salesperson will be ‘sucked’ into doing exactly this.

The true sales professional, however, will go into what I like to call the ‘diagnosis mode’, and ask the prospect if they would mind answering a few questions before they tell them about what they have to offer.

Now it’s nothing new to ask questions to determine a prospect’s needs and whether what you have is a good fit for them or not. Most salespeople understand this. However, most don’t understand that their prospects have both logical and emotional needs.

When the meeting starts, it’s likely that the prospect is feeling indifferent or maybe even sceptical about what the salesperson has to offer. The average salesperson wants to take them directly from indifference to excited by making an enthusiastic presentation. Sure, it can work, but the true sales professional understands there is a better way to create a sense of urgency: by asking questions that take their prospect from indifferent to disturbed, before they offer the solution which will take them to excited and create that sense of urgency to escape the pain and move into gain right away.

Questions that disturb

Here are some of the questions we teach salespeople to use to disturb their prospects before offering the solution. I’ll like you to notice that this is not a list of random questions. The order in which they are asked is vital. We begin with broad questions and then become more specific. So here they are.

1. Mr Prospect, what would you say is the major challenge you face today with respect to …? (Now we guide them towards an area where we know we can offer them a solution, e.g. ‘maintaining or increasing your market share’. Or maybe it’s ‘protecting your data’ etc. We now wait for an answer and then ask …

2. How do you mean? (This is designed to draw out an expansive answer.)

3. Could you give me an example please?

4. When was the last time that happened?

5. What happened exactly?

6. Why did that happen?

7. Conservatively, what would you say that cost you and your company over the last six months? (Or one year etc. This may also now help you to financially justify what you offer.)

8. How much?!!! Are you serious? $… right off your bottom line?

9. What does your manager / partner / accountant etc say to you about that?

10. How does that make you feel?

11. What are the consequences if you don’t solve that problem of … (specify the problem)?

12. By solving this problem of … how will that help you?

13. How do you mean?

14. Why is that important to you?

15. How will that help you?

16. As a result of solving the problem of … and achieving … what will that mean to you personally?

Do you think your prospect might now be thinking ‘How can you help me?’

Some will even say this out loud. There is now a sense of urgency to relieve the pain and move into the ‘gain’.

Notice also that the answers to question 12 to 16 have your prospect talking about the benefits of what you are now about to show them. They are selling themselves!

By the way, this sense of urgency should also be shared by the salesperson. After all, if what you have to offer will benefit your prospect enormously and they don’t go ahead now, who will lose? The prospect will, and of course so will you, but if you genuinely believe that what you have is right for your prospect, you will be letting them down by not asking for the order then and there.

So a sense of urgency can be created by the true professional salesperson.

Wayne Berry, CEO TOP GUN Business Academy International