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.
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.
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.