Sales managers are always talking about it like you're supposed to be able to wave a magic wand and get people to buy on command. I remember a situation early in my sales career when we were having a particularly slow month. The manager came along gave us a rah-rah speech and told us we needed to "create urgency with our buyers" and "get them to buy now!" I remember thinking to myself that if I had the ability to make people buy on command we wouldn't be in the sales slump we were in!
You obviously can't make anyone buy on command. In fairness, sales managers that talk about creating urgency can also do us as sales people a favor by reminding us that there are things we can do to help move the sales process along. Without those reminders we are sometimes guilty of simply waiting for people to buy whenever they get around to it.
So, what is urgency and how do you create it?
Usually we feel a sense of urgency when we think we will miss out on something. It's important to differentiate that this fear of loss can be associated with the product we are considering and it can also be relative to things external to the product.
Specific to Product? People may experience a fear of loss if they think they might miss out on a great price. They may experience a fear of loss if they think they might miss out on something that is rare and limited in quantity.
External to Product? People can also experience a fear of loss relating to time. How many times have you got tired of shopping and just decided to buy because you wanted to get it over with? In this case, the fear of loss was the time you were spending shopping compared to whatever else you could have been doing.
The fear of loss can be associated with lost opportunity. If someone were considering the purchase before an event (say summer vacation) they will experience a greater sense of urgency as that time gets closer.
What can you do to create urgency in your clients to buy? Here are some ideas:
1. Know what problem you are solving for your client before you try to create urgency around a specific product. What's the "problem"? Well it’s the thing that their old vehicle doesn't do for them anymore. It’s what has changed in their life that makes the old vehicle unsuitable. It could be that they are just tired of their current vehicle or the maintenance costs of an older vehicle. Whatever the reason(s) that dominant buying motivation can create urgency - but only if you know what it is!
2. For many people, shopping for a vehicle is not a lot of fun. It can be time consuming and chances are they have better things to be doing. Ask them when you first find out what they are looking for how long they have been shopping or looking around. Ask them a little about the process they have been through already. Not only will you possibly uncover some useful information about the competition and what the client has been considering, but you will also get them to verbalize how long they have been at it. You can even suggest if they have been shopping for a while that "they must be anxious to get this all decided?" This question reminds them that there is more to life then shopping and that sooner or later they need to get on with a decision. If you follow this up by doing a good job of leading them through the sales process and asking for a decision your odds of selling them today go up.
3. Once you have established what their end goal is you can focus on the loss of opportunity they will experience by waiting. The old car depreciates every day causing the cost to switch to rise every day. Remind them that as they wait for the "perfect moment" they are losing money. The reasons they want to change don't go away and delay only puts off their enjoyment.
The fear of loss is a powerful motivator if the potential loss is real to the person you are speaking with. If it's not, it becomes a cheap sales tactic that will do more harm then good. Create urgency wisely. Know the person you are speaking with. Know what they are after, why they are specifically considering your product, how it will benefit them, what they will be missing out on by not having it, how long they have been looking, and what they could be doing instead of shopping. When you have done the work of selling you can earn the right to create some urgency.