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4 Ways to Create Urgency in the Sales Cycle

Posted by Steve Bookbinder on Nov 11, 2016 7:38:24 AM

As a professional salesperson, a common challenge is creating a sense of urgency with your prospects and customers.

Creating a sense of urgency without appearing aggressive or pushy is a learned skill based on conducting good discovery, understanding the needs of the prospect, and asking the right questions of the right people in the sales process.

Basically, it comes down to “training” our prospects to understand that if we plan to work together, then we must have a shared sense of accountability.

Some salespeople might resist the notion of creating urgency by saying it’s too difficult to “train” a prospect to think this way, but the truth is, that’s exactly what you’re doing when you’re selling. In order to create a mutually beneficial business relationship, you must set expectations at the beginning of the relationship.

We’ve identified 4 simple ways you can start building urgency and accountability into every interaction with a prospect or customer.

Creating urgency in the sales cycle

Guide Your Prospects

Your prospects can’t benefit from your product without acknowledging that they need it — so get them to see the big picture with open-ended questions that demonstrate where their needs are and how you can help solve them.

The challenge for a lot of people is putting a name to what they need. They know their challenges and objections, but they are not at the point where they are able to identify how they should go about solving their issues.

That’s where you, the sales rep, comes in. When you can help your target prospect recognize their needs, you will create urgency and increase the likelihood that they’ll take action.

And remember, your actions will affect how your prospect takes action. So make sure you “train” them to understand that time is crucial in the sales process, and if you see a sale lingering, then you must win some commitment for action like a scheduled next step meeting. Or, if you’re unable to get something set on their calendars, then you must decide whether the sale is really worth it, and if it’s not then you need to determine if it’s time to move on to a more qualified or ready opportunity.


Understand the Decision Making Process

Stop asking “Are you in charge of this decision?” Instead, go below the surface level of the conversation and try to ask questions that will lead you to understanding exactly how the decision making process works when considering an investment in your product or service. It’s also important to understand who is involved in the decision making process and what criteria they are specifically looking to fill.

If you can understand how they’ve made a decision about a similar product or service in the past, then odds are that the decision about your product or service will be made in essentially the same way.

So, if you learn that past decisions have always been made by a committee, then try to find a way to make your presentation directly to that committee so you can ensure you deliver the same information to the entire group. And if you find out the individual you're talking to has no idea how the decision was made last time, you are talking to the wrong person and should find a more appropriate person to guide you.


Listen More, Sell Less

Establishing trust and rapport with a new prospect or client takes time. It requires proactive communication, delivering valuable information, and most importantly, active listening.

Selling effectively means listening more than you speak.

The less you pitch your product or service, the more you’ll command the attention of your prospects by leading a two-way conversation. Of course, you will ultimately be trying to demonstrate your value, but the key to a successful conversation is simply lending an ear. Making the conversation primarily about them, as opposed to what you’re selling, will keep your prospect engaged — and you may be surprised at the urgency you can create by allowing your prospect to come to their own conclusions, as opposed to overwhelming them with sales speak.


Communicate Value

When you communicate value, you’re offering beneficial information that informs your prospects’ decisions and helps them in their daily role. Providing a piece of actionable information will be welcomed and helps you maintain communication while building rapport in the process.

Approaching your communication in this way will help you gradually build urgency for those prospects and customers not quite ready to make a decision yet. You worked hard to plant the seed with your prospect, now make sure it grows. Providing value with persistence is what leads to sales wins.

Do this by consistently keeping your prospects engaged with thoughtful and personalized notes, updates, relevant articles, case studies, eBooks and referrals. It only takes a few minutes of your time, and becoming a valuable resource while staying on their radar will keep your offerings a point of focus.

Try incorporating these simple steps into your everyday sales process, and you will not only create a stronger sense of urgency among your prospects, but help build the right expectations and level or reassurance that will ultimately make the buying journey a success for everyone involved.

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Topics: sales, key sales questions, communication, sales cycle

4 Key Questions to Ask When Selling Digital Ad Campaigns

Posted by Molly Depasquale on Jun 17, 2015 9:30:00 AM

It’s not merely what you ask, but how you prepare for the meeting “interview” that allows you to get the most mileage out of asking key questions. You can research what other campaigns this brand is currently running by using tools such as QuantcastMedia RadarMediaMonitors, and/or other 3rd party services. These types of research tools can reveal campaign information including screen shots of that brand’s ads on publisher pages.

By doing research up-front, this will help lead you into the 4 key questions you should be asking:

questions-question-mark1. "Who are you trying to reach?"

"From my research, it looks like you are typically targeting users in the ____ demographic group. Is that who you will be targeting in a future campaign?”

Obviously if your pre-meeting research included learning all of the demographic, psycho-graphic, and geographic data points about your site’s audience, then you would be in a better position to justify to the agency why your site is a good fit for their goals.

2. "Have you run campaigns to this group before?"

“What have you done that has worked? What digital assets did you use? What websites (owned media) did you direct users to?”

Now, if you did some research (on ComscoreCompeteSEMrush) you might already know that they have a corporate official site and a campaign specific micro-site, a blog, a discussion group, a Facebook page, a Pinterest page, etc….in other words, you would already have a head start on knowing which sites/properties they own.

You can go to those pages to see what forms of engagement are available to users who land on those pages—(tell a friend, store locator button, register for coupons, watch video, etc.) and you can ask which form of engagements have worked in the past.

Buyers like when you ask smart questions, but they especially appreciate when the seller has obviously done their homework before the meeting. It’s a competitive sale and the winner is usually the better prepared. If audience engagement is the key success metric that brand (or their agency) cares about, you are in a better position to explore that when you walk in already armed with key findings.

3. "What are you trying to accomplish with this campaign?"

When you combine the research preparation described above with the first two questions, you will get into this third question with a running start. Your pre-meeting research makes it look like you are a real digital insider. And, knowing that you already understand digital in general and this marketer in particular, they will likely share more with you and you will end up having a better, deeper discussion.

It’s one thing for a marketer to tell you their goals, but quite another thing for them to tell you that in the context of their past history, their assets, and their learnings from previous campaigns, etc.

4. "How will you measure success?"

For this one, the pre-meeting research is all internal – “What kind of campaigns have already run on this site? What kinds of results were achieved? What happens when the site puts together a real sponsorship package with unique elements like custom content, co-branded pages, 100% SOV (share of voice), etc…?”

Knowing what is already possible gives the seller a better idea of how to evaluate the agency’s answer to your question. If they say that their performance benchmark is a standard that neither your site has achieved nor the marketer has ever achieved, then you will know that you must negotiate in order to find something you can both agree upon.

Sometimes that negotiation is simply – “Mr. Agency person, you have suggested benchmarks that make sense, but perhaps for this first campaign we should scale back those benchmarks in favor of using this opportunity as a way to test new things and collect new data. Once we know how our site’s audience engages with your brand, we can be in a better position to see how to optimize the campaign performance and scale the results—with a bigger budget—going forward.”

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Topics: selling digital media, key sales questions, digital ad campaigns